Instagram accounted for 7.3% of Iran’s digital economy before shutdown: SCC

Instagram accounted for 7.3% of Iran’s digital economy before shutdown: SCC

Figures by Iran’s Supreme Council of Cyberspace (SCC) show that business activity on Instagram accounted for a tiny share of the country’s total digital economy before September when the US-based social media platform was shut down in Iran because of its role in fomenting street unrest.

SCC figures published in a Monday report by the official IRNA news agency showed that total turnover from activity on Instagram by Iranian small businesses had amounted to around 700 trillion rials (over $2 billion) per year before September.

The figure amounted to 7.3% of the total turnover from the Iranian digital economy, said the SCC, adding that a bulk of the revenues derived from Instagram in Iran had been collected by internet providers at about 300 trillion rials.

SCC figures showed retail sales on Instagram had reached 250 trillion rials per year while advertisement and logistics revenue had amounted to 150 trillion rials per year before restrictions were imposed on the platform in Iran in September.

The figures came in response to criticism about alleged losses inflicted on small businesses in Iran since access to Instagram was blocked in the country.

The SCC said the business activity on Instagram had been very tiny when compared to the total economic activity in the country.

The SCC’s report also contained tables that showed a comparison between functions and applications offered by Instagram and those offered by home-grown social media and online business platforms.

Statements by Iranian government authorities, including SCC’s Secretary Abolhassan Firouzabadi, have indicated that the country has no immediate plans to roll back restrictions on Instagram.

Firouzabadi said recently that domestic platforms are quite capable of providing various services to online businesses in Iran as he reiterated that the government will offer financial support to businesses migrating to Iranian platforms.