Dec 31, 2017

Telegram blocks channel promoting violence against Iran's government

Protestors in Tehran. Photo: Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

Telegram — a messaging platform used by 40 million of Iran's 80 million people — is shutting down a channel on its app that was encouraging users to carry out violent protests against the Iranian government and use Molotov cocktails against police officers, Recode reports.

In a tweet to Telegram CEO Pavel Durov, Iranian official Mohammad-Javad Azari Jahromi said Telegram was promoting violent protest. After the claim was confirmed and the channel — amadnews — was blocked, Durov tweeted, "Be careful — there are lines one shouldn't cross."

Why it matters, per Axios' Sara Fischer: Social media and internet access has allowed likeminded groups and ideas to collect in ways they couldn't before. Many argued access to tech platforms like Facebook and Twitter helped facilitate protests that led to democratic revolution during the Arab Spring in 2012. And regimes in China and Russia censor their citizens from social media to avoid such uprisings.

Go deeper: The latest AFP report on the protests say 2 have been killed.

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