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Reasons why Iran seeks to block Telegram

(THE IRANIAN) — by Hamed Jafari

In the past weeks, Iranian Authorities have warned users to migrate to local messaging apps as Telegram might soon get blocked in the country. While President Rouhani had mentioned that its government is against blocking internet services, it seems that they have reached to a point to actually take a different approach towards this app.

A few years ago maybe no one would have thought that Iranians would become this much dependent on their smartphones just because of a messaging app. Over 40 million Iranians in different ages and groups are using Telegram today for their daily communication, business and/or entertainment. Today, this amount of attachment and centralization of users to one specific app that does not obey the Iranian laws has alerted Iranian authorities to find a solution in order to scatter the crowd.

According to the Iranian ICT Minister, currently, 60 million smartphones in Iran are connected to the 3G Internet. Half of Iran’s 80 million population are under 30 years old and nearly 200 thousand people have turned to Telegram to make a living using content creation. Many Iranian Telegram channels and bots have brought considerable amount of revenue for their creators. But why would the Iranian authorities see this app as a threat to the security of the country while it has helped to reduce the un

1. Telegram has become a one-sided media

Iranian officials believe that instead of a simple messaging app, Telegram with its ‘channels feature’ has become a one-sided media. Instead of surfing the web, Iranians rather receive and spread the news via Telegram. A large group of Iranians using this app don’t even have or use an email for communication and might not even be that much aware of the other aspects of the World Wide Web. But Telegram has become an easy-to-use media for the majority of people.

2. Almost half of Iran’s internet bandwidth is used for Telegram

According to Iran’s ICT Minister, 45% of Iran’s international bandwidth is used for Telegram. While most of the senders and the receivers are inside the country, Iran is paying hefty budgets for transferring this bandwidth outside and again into the country. Previously, Iranian authorities had asked Telegram to move their servers into Iran, but this company has shown no interest to do so, mainly due to the fear of losing its reputation for having a strict privacy policy and security. While Facebook is dealing with its privacy scandal, Telegram claims that to this day they have “disclosed 0 bytes of user data to third parties, including governments”.

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Reasons why Iran seeks to block Telegram

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