Telegram in Iran

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The Telegram instant messaging service has more than 50 million users in Iran.[1]

Following the disruptions caused by the Iranian government in the Viber[2][3] and Line services, the Iranian people were attracted to Telegram.[4] Security was the most important reason that led to its popularity. Additionally, this service permitted exchanging files up to 2 gigabyte.[5][6]

The Iranian Government has repeatedly considered the topic of blocking access to Telegram and has always imposed limitations on users' access. During the protests on 8 December 2017, Telegram was blocked for more than a week and finally became available again on 23 December 2017.[7][8][9] It was reblocked on May 10, 2017 by judicial authorities. In the judicial order of the Tehran Prosecutor's Office, it was said that Telegram must be blocked by ISPs in such a way that it could not be achieved even with tools similar to VPNs.[10]

The two-time experience of blocking Telegram in Iran shows that Iranian users did not migrate to alternative services, such as the foreign WhatsApp, or the domestic Soroush messenger, but resorted to Internet censorship circumvention.[11]

CDN[edit]

April 27, 2018 Telecoms officials said that Telegram's license to site its CDN servers in Iran had been revoked, thereby it should move it servers outside the country.[12]

Telegram access denied

Spying request[edit]

On 20 October 2015, Pavel Durov, CEO of Telegram LLC said, after denying the request of Iranian authorities for private information about citizens of the country, Telegram was blocked for hours in Iran, but it was unblocked afterwards.[13] Pavel Durov wrote an answer letter and announced that "Iranian authorities want to use Telegram to spy on their citizens. We cannot help them in this regard."[13]

Content moderation request[edit]

Telegram messenger played a major role in spreading the news about the protests and served as the primary platform to unify the protesters.[14] On 30 December, the Iranian government requested the closing of a Telegram channel called "Amad News" (AMAD standing for Agaahi, awareness, Mobaareze, combat & Democracy) operated by Roohollah Zam which called for use of handmade explosives against the security forces. The request was accepted by Telegram since it also violated their terms of service and policies, and its CEO Pavel Durov received criticism for complying with the request.[15] The channel was reinstated on the next day with a different title (Sedaye Mardom, lit. Voice of People) after the admin who published the post calling for violence was dismissed.[16] On 31 December, the Iranian government blocked access to Telegram after it had refused to ban another channel.[17] Telegram CEO Pavel Durov tweeted that "Iranian authorities are blocking access to Telegram for the majority of Iranians after our public refusal to shut down telegram.me/sedaiemardom and other peacefully protesting channels."[18]

The government lifted restrictions on Telegram on 13 January 2018.[19][20] but again applied permanent restrictions after late April 2018.[21][22][23] Iranian government created another version of the app that works beside telegram called Talagram or Telegram Golden and one more clone called Hotgram with overhauled censorship and features.[24]

Blocking Telegram free voice calls feature[edit]

Only one day after Telegram introduced the voice call feature in the messenger, the voice call functionality was completely blocked in Iran.[25] Paul Durov wrote in response to users who had asked about voice calls problems in Iran: "Internet service providers in Iran have blocked it again."[26][27] The low cost of calling using this feature and the subsequent financial losses incurred by the telecommunication network operators, including the stated-owned Mobile Telecommunication Company of Iran, may have motivated the block,[28] Although public relations of MTN Irancell announced that the operator has played no role in the disruption of the service.[29] Mahmoud Vaezi Chief of Staff of the President of Iran said reason for blocking Telegram free voice calls is so Iranian corporations keep revenue from voice calls.[30]

Full blocking[edit]

Map of countries in which Telegram is completely blocked or partially
  Completely blocked
  Blocked partially (some ISPs or audio traffic)

Following the Iranian government policy to censor every social network and instant messaging service in Iran, they have continued to disrupt access to Telegram. On Saturday, 19 May 2015, the telecommunication company of Iran blocked Telegram access in some parts of the Tehran province and some other provinces without prior notice.[31][32]

Following the nationwide protests in Iran in 2017 and 2018, and to prevent rioting, the Supreme National Security Council of Iran decided to cut off all social networks, including Telegram,[33] although it was said to be temporary.[34] On the night of January 23, 2017, the block was lifted.[35][36] However, Telegram was banned by the government on May 1, 2018,[37] following street protests.[38] For until one year from the end of the 2017 riots, the Iranian government made available a customized version of Telegram that was under their domain.[39][40][41][42]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Iran blocks video and images on Telegram messaging app - BBC.com
  2. ^ "موج مهاجرت کاربران تلفن همراه از وایبر به تلگرام/ فرصت مغتنم برای پیام‌رسان‌های ایرانی". خبرگزاری فارس (in Persian). May 5, 2015. Retrieved June 6, 2018.
  3. ^ انتخاب, پایگاه خبری تحلیلی (May 14, 2014). "وایبر هم بالاخره فیلتر شد". پایگاه خبری تحلیلی انتخاب | Entekhab.ir (in Persian). Retrieved June 6, 2018.
  4. ^ تبیان, موسسه فرهنگی و اطلاع‌رسانی (February 21, 2017). "از وایبر به تلگرام". سایت مؤسسه فرهنگی و اطلاع‌رسانی تبیان (in Persian). Retrieved June 6, 2018.
  5. ^ "آی تی رسان". آی تی رسان (in Persian). June 29, 2015. Retrieved June 6, 2018.
  6. ^ "جنگ وایبر با تلگرام". ایسنا (in Persian). Retrieved June 6, 2018.
  7. ^ "آخرین خبر - تلگرام مختل شد یا فیلتر؟". آخرین خبر | در کوتاهترین زمان بروزترین باشید (in Persian). June 6, 2018. Retrieved June 6, 2018.
  8. ^ "مدیر عامل تلگرام: ایران از چهارشنبه دسترسی به تلگرام را محدود کرده است [بروزرسانی: پاسخ وزارت ارتباطات]". زومیت (in Persian). October 21, 2015. Retrieved June 6, 2018.
  9. ^ ايران, عصر (June 6, 2018). "5 نکته درباره شایعه فیلترینگ "تلگرام"". عصر ايران (in Persian). Retrieved June 6, 2018.
  10. ^ خبرگزاری باشگاه خبرنگاران (April 30, 2018). "پایان کار تلگرام در ایران اعلام شد". خبرگزاری باشگاه خبرنگاران | آخرین اخبار ایران و جهان | YJC (in Persian). Retrieved June 6, 2018.
  11. ^ Khodabakhshi, Leyla (May 3, 2018). "کاربران ایرانی بعد از فیلتر شدن تلگرام چه می‌کنند؟". BBC Persian (in Persian). Retrieved June 6, 2018.
  12. ^ "Iran starts restricting Telegram messenger". Tehran Times. 2018-04-27. Retrieved 2020-09-19.
  13. ^ a b "تلگرام 'پس از عدم همکاری با دولت ایران موقتا مسدود شد'". BBC Persian (in Persian). October 20, 2015. Retrieved June 6, 2018.
  14. ^ "Protests in Iran fanned by exiled journalist, messaging app". Associated Press. Archived from the original on 31 December 2017. Retrieved 31 December 2017.
  15. ^ Alimardani, Mahsa. "What Telegram Owes Iranians". POLITICO Magazine. Retrieved 2019-10-14.
  16. ^ Gambrell, Jon (31 December 2017). "Protests in Iran fanned by exiled journalist, messaging app". Associated Press. Archived from the original on 31 December 2017. Retrieved 31 December 2017.
  17. ^ Durov, Pavel (31 December 2017). "Iranian authorities are blocking access to Telegram for the majority of Iranians after our public refusal to shut down t.me/sedaiemardom  and other peacefully protesting channels". @durov. Archived from the original on 31 December 2017. Retrieved 31 December 2017.
  18. ^ "iran protests telegram and instagram restricted". BBC News. 31 December 2017. Archived from the original on 31 December 2017. Retrieved 31 December 2017.
  19. ^ "Iran unblocks Telegram messenger service shut down during country-wide protests – News – 14 January 2018". Deutsche Welle. 2018-01-14. Retrieved 2018-01-14.
  20. ^ "Iran lifts block on popular messaging app as protests wane". CBC News. 2018-01-13. Retrieved 2018-01-14.
  21. ^ "Iran orders ISPs to block Telegram". 30 April 2018.
  22. ^ "Iran orders ISPs to block Telegram messaging app". CNET. 2018-04-30. Retrieved 2018-06-29.
  23. ^ YJC, خبرگزاری باشگاه خبرنگاران | آخرین اخبار ایران و جهان. "تلگرام در اپراتورهای تلفن همراه مسدود شد". خبرگزاری باشگاه خبرنگاران | آخرین اخبار ایران و جهان | YJC (in Persian). Retrieved 2018-06-29.
  24. ^ "هشدار تلگرام درباره ناامن بودن "هاتگرام" و "طلاگرام"". Radio Farda (in Persian). RFE/RL. Retrieved 2019-01-18.
  25. ^ خبرگزاری باشگاه خبرنگاران (April 17, 2017). "دلیل فیلترشدن تماس صوتی تلگرام در ایران". خبرگزاری باشگاه خبرنگاران | آخرین اخبار ایران و جهان | YJC (in Persian). Retrieved June 6, 2018.
  26. ^ خبرگزاری باشگاه خبرنگاران (April 17, 2017). "دلیل فیلترشدن تماس صوتی تلگرام در ایران". خبرگزاری باشگاه خبرنگاران | آخرین اخبار ایران و جهان | YJC (in Persian). Retrieved June 6, 2018.
  27. ^ "Pavel Durov on Twitter". Twitter (in Latin). May 24, 2018. Retrieved June 6, 2018.
  28. ^ خبرگزاری باشگاه خبرنگاران (April 17, 2017). "مکالمه صوتی تلگرام به صورت کامل مسدود شد + دلیل مسدود سازی". خبرگزاری باشگاه خبرنگاران | آخرین اخبار ایران و جهان | YJC (in Persian). Retrieved June 6, 2018.
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  30. ^ "واعظی خبر داد: ممنوعیت پرداخت در شبکه‌های اجتماعی خارجی /اگر می‌خواهید مخابرات و 3 اپراتور ورشکست شوند تلگرام صوتی رفع فیلتر شود - ایستنا". www.ictna.ir. Retrieved 2020-08-15.
  31. ^ "تلگرام در آستانه فیلترشدن؟". ITIRAN (in Persian). May 1, 2018. Retrieved June 6, 2018.
  32. ^ انتخاب, پایگاه خبری تحلیلی (May 10, 2015). "مخابرات تلگرام را مسدود کرد". پایگاه خبری تحلیلی انتخاب | Entekhab.ir (in Persian). Retrieved June 6, 2018.
  33. ^ "تلگرام فیلتر شده است؟/طبیعی است که دست به محدودیت بزنیم". خبرگزاری ایلنا (in Persian). June 6, 2018. Retrieved June 6, 2018.
  34. ^ "فیلتر تلگرام موقتی است". خبرگزاری ایلنا (in Persian). June 6, 2018. Retrieved June 6, 2018.
  35. ^ "بازتاب جهانی رفع فیلتر تلگرام - روزنامک". روزنامک (in Persian). January 14, 2018. Archived from the original on July 10, 2018. Retrieved June 6, 2018.
  36. ^ "پیام‌رسان تلگرام در ایران رفع فیلتر شد". euronews (in Arabic). January 13, 2018. Retrieved June 6, 2018.
  37. ^ Erdbrink, Thomas (May 1, 2018). "Iran, Like Russia Before It, Tries to Block Telegram App". The New York Times.
  38. ^ Redigolo, Tim *(Jan 14, 2020). "Iran BLACKOUT: Is Twitter banned in Iran? How rebels publicise their plight online". Daily Express.
  39. ^ هشدار تلگرام درباره ناامن بودن "هاتگرام" و "طلاگرام" (in Persian), retrieved 14 June 2019
  40. ^ "Iranians Return To Banned Telegram As It Proves Effective In Flood Relief". RFE/RL. Retrieved 2020-08-15.
  41. ^ "Why Did Telegram Warn Users That Iranian Versions of the Telegram App—Talaeii and Hotgram—Are "Unsafe"?". Center for Human Rights in Iran. 2018-12-17. Retrieved 2020-08-15.
  42. ^ "Iran's Social-Media Struggles Laid Bare By Telegram And Cleric's Viral Moment". RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty. Retrieved 2020-08-15.