Iran Blocks Instagram and Telegram after Protests


In response to Jahromi's tweet, Durov noted that Telegram admins had suspended the channel that the Iranian government pointed out.

On Saturday, December 30, Iranian telecommunications minister Mohammad-Javad Azari Jagromi, tweeted Pavel Durov, CEO and founder of Telegram about a Telegram channel "encouraging hateful conduct, use of Molotov cocktails, armed uprising, and social unrest", Recode reported.

Durov promised to investigate the case, and within hours suspended the "amadnews" channel, saying that it violated the "no calls for violence rule".

It was not clear if the block on Telegram would be permanent or temporary, Mr. Durov wrote. While the Telegram and Instagram are now blocked in Iran, you can still use them with the VPN services.

Telegram has a large user base in Iran with around 40 million users and 25 million daily active users. It blocks popular services like Google, YouTube, Facebook, and the main download page for the Tor Browser, which lets users easily circumvent such restrictions.

"Telegram will face increasing pressure over time to collaborate with the Iranian government's demands for this or that", Snowden wrote on Twitter.

United States whistleblower Edward Snowden warned Mr Durov that the Iranian authorities might not stop at requesting the suspension of a channel.

According to the Times of Israel, the internet censorship came as videos of "thousands marching through the western cities of Khorramabad, Zanjan and Ahvaz" and elsewhere including Tehran spread quickly on social media.

Iranian authorities have reportedly blocked access to the messaging app Telegram and the photo sharing app Instagram following the recent unrests in the country, ISNA news agency reported.

Iranian internal minister Abdolreza Rahmani-Fazli claimed in a statement that some individuals on social networks were "causing violence and fear".

Without press access, the world is seeing what may be a skewed version of what's happening in Iran.

Iran is not the only country to clamp down on social media in this way.

Telegram also touts its end-to-end encryption, meaning every device with Telegram installed has its own encryption keys, which in theory would prevent a government that intercepted Telegram messages from being able to read them. "The watching!" The government enforced the block through a combination of centralized censorship by the country's Supreme Cybercouncil and local ISP interference to enforce more specific orders. The government requires that admins running channels with more than 5,000 members register with the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance.

The Chinese government, which maintains strict controls over the internet and social media, blocked mainland access to Instagram and posts related to the demonstrations on popular Chinese messaging sites like Weibo and Wechat.