Internet censorship a double-edged sword for Tehran

Al-Monitor | : “Everything stopped suddenly. We are literally out of work now,” Alireza, a 24-year-old university student living in Tehran, told Al-Monitor. He is among many Iranian online entrepreneurs who have suffered major financial losses in recent days due to the authorities’ intensified online filtering, including bans on popular social media platforms such as Telegram and Instagram.

The bans were first imposed Dec. 31, three days after protests first broke out across the country, with Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli saying that some individuals had misused social media networks “to create violence and fear.”

Although the government has moved to lift the ban on Instagram, Telegram has remained blocked, forcing many Iranians to use circumvention apps to bypass the restriction. The government has said that its moves are aimed at protecting society. “If the filtering had not been carried out, social security would have been affected,” Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi, the minister of communications and information technology, told local media Jan. 3.

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