One Difference Between 2009 vs 2018 Iran Protests? 48 Million Smartphones

Telegram Shuts Down Channel Promoting Violence Against Iran's Government

Telegram is shutting down a channel that called for violent protests against Iran's government

Iran's government has also been targeting Telegram channel administrators - issuing a requirement that admins of channels with more than 5,000 members register with the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance. Telegram removed at least one opposition channel citing calls for violence, but CEO Pavel Durov has refused to shut down other channels he has called peaceful.

Durov replied a few hours later, saying they would block such a channel, "regardless of its size and political affilitation" due to it calling for violence. State media claims that the move to "temporarily" block Instagram and Telegram was to "maintain peace".

Confusion remains around the true extent of the clampdown as some students in the country have reported uninterrupted access on desktop computers, including messaging service Telegram.

Last year, Durov said that Telegram has more than 40 million monthly active users in Iran. It blocks popular services like Google, YouTube, Facebook, and the main download page for the Tor Browser, which lets users easily circumvent such restrictions.

As protests over Iran's faltering economy rapidly spread across the country, a channel on a mobile messaging app run by an exiled journalist helped fan the passions of some of those who took to the street. In countries where they are otherwise banned, messaging apps that encrypt conversations often use the Google App Engine to hide their activity within Google's traffic.

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The Iranian minister made the remarks on Wednesday, touching upon the point that social networking applications and the Internet were abused by some pro-riot groups to promote anarchy and terrorist attacks across Iran.

In a December 31 blog post, Pavel Durov, chief executive of Telegram, which is based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, wrote that the company had previously complied with requests by the Iranian government to shut down access to "channels" that called for violence during the protests.

While apps like Telegram and Signal are now blocked by the Iranian authorities, WhatsApp remains fully accessible in Iran.

But since the ban, many Iranian citizens have been able to continue accessing Telegram and Instagram apps using illegal VPN software.

Since the 2009 Green Movement, more Iranians have access to anti-censorship technology, such as VPNs and proxies, servers that transmit content that can evade government controls. The channel also apologized for breaking Telegram's terms and conditions. "The U.S.is watching!" It happened in many states in India and many other countries internationally. While registered admins expose themselves to the risk of arrest - putting channels under greater pressure to self-censor. So far, Telegram has walked the line very well but with increasing unrest in the country, it is likely that a permanent censorship could come sooner than we think.

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