MEK Iran: Iranians Online Activities Controlled By the Regime
The Iranian government declared a ban on Signal a new online social media platform that has sparked interest from around the world. It hasn’t stopped the use of WhatsApp because it is easier to monitor people’s usage.
Important social media platforms
The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), and the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI / MEK Iran) reported that after the unrest following the 2009 election, the Iranian government began to realize how important social media platforms were for organizing dissent and civil disobedience and getting people mobilized to take part in protests and demonstrations against the government.
The trouble with the regime is that it went too far and even arrested people for simply liking a post, imposed long jail terms on them. The regime really believes that cracking down on dissidents will stop this sort of resistance movement.
Direct control link that begins from the Supreme Leader
There is it seems a direct control link that begins from the Supreme Leader in his office and individual users through two military-security organizations. The Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) is one of these, while the national police force NAJA is the other.
The Police control citizens’ online activities via the Iranian Cyber Police known as FATA. The military often arrests and imprison anyone who threatens the regime’s existence. A young blogger called Sattar Beheshti died while held in custody in 2012, allegedly due to torture.
— Iran Freedom (@4FreedominIran) August 28, 2016
The IRGC-linked Tasnim news agency last Saturday requested that the government strengthens Iran’s governance of cyberspace by initiating a national internet network.
Iran has tried unsuccessfully to initiate platforms that replace the blocked ones. However, these regime linked replacement were not attractive to Iranians.
Instagram is still allowed, but pressure groups, the parliament, and the government continually try to exert pressure to ban this platform, denying Iranians rights to freedom of expression. Nonetheless, millions of Iranians do access Twitter and Telegram using special tools or VPNs (Virtual Private Networks).
2009- Facebook and Twitter, as well as Flickr, YouTube, and Iranian platform Cloob were blocked in 2009. Some were temporarily restored in 2012 but were blocked once again in the same year.
- 2011- Gmail and Yahoo! Blocked for a while.
- 2012- Iranian news website Tabnak blocked for a while.
- 2018- Telegram and Instagram was blocked following the 2019 major nationwide protest against economic hardships. It was unblocked later in the year.
- 2021- Signal Blocked.