Implementing the second phase of the smart filtering system will be launched in the next two months, according to Mahmoud Vaezi, the Islamic Republic’s communications and information technology minister Iran’s ISNA news agency reported May 4.
It is not clear which social networks the new phase will cover, he added. The first phase of the project was started last December by limiting access to certain pages in Instagram, a popular photo-sharing network.
The Islamic Republic’s smart filtering software is capable of accurate and rapid detection of “inappropriate” content (including text, image and video) online.
Vaezi further rejected reports that the ministry has implemented restriction on access to Viber mobile application. Recent problems with Viber and Instagram networks are not related to Iran’s Internet, he said, adding Iran has not limited access to those networks.
The Iranian minister further stated that the government supports domestic mobile social networks applications.
“We have announced to all developer companies and academic groups that if they develop such domestic applications to replace with foreign ones the ministry will support them,” Vaezi underlined.
He further said that currently a few Iranian mobile social networks application are activating, of them BisPhone communication application is the most popular.
The network currently has almost 800,000 users while at least 4.5 to five million of Iranian citizens use WhatsApp mobile social networks applications.
Iran’s Culture Minister Ali Jannati earlier said that 9.5 million Iranians use the social app Viber and 4 to 4.5 million use Facebook.
It should be noted that several of world’s most popular networks, such as Twitter and Facebook are banned in Iran, while users are still able to access them via proxies. A proxy allows bypassing ‘gates’ meant to block certain sites.
A survey by Iranian Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports indicates that 69.3 percent of the country’s young generation use proxy servers to by-pass the filters and access banned Internet websites.