The Iranian government has recently blocked access to messaging app Telegram due to anti-government protests throughout the country. According to state-run media, this is done for the purpose of maintaining tranquillity and security of society. Telegram was first temporarily blocked on December 31.
Messaging App Telegram
Telegram is one of the top instant messaging apps in the world. It’s a non-profit cloud-based instant messaging service. Telegram is available for Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Windows NT, macOS, and Linux. Using this chat app, you can send messages and exchange photos, videos, stickers, audio, and files of any type.
Telegram was launched in 2013 by the brothers Nikolai and Pavel Durov. They had previously founded the Russian social network VK. In February 2016, it was reported that Telegram had 100 million monthly active users (MAU) and sent 15 billion messages on a daily basis. In December 2017, Telegram stated to have reached 180 million MAUs. As of April 2017, Telegram had over 50% annual growth rate.
Telegram messages are server-client encrypted by default. Voice calls are end-to-end encrypted. Moreover, Telegram offers optional end-to-end encrypted “secret” chats. The company is registered as both an English LLP and an American LLC.
Pavel Durov has recently tweeted about Telegram being blocked. Durov noted that Iranian authorities were blocking access to Telegram for most Iranians after Telegram publicly refused to shut down https://t.me/sedaiemardom and other “peacefully protesting channels.”
The number of active social media users in Iran with Telegram and the Facebook-owned app Instagram has reached 47 million. These are the most popular apps in the country. When it comes to Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, they’re all blocked.
Pinngle, a perfect alternative to even the most popular messaging apps, including Telegram, can be used in any VoIP-blocked country. Pinngle is one of the top messaging apps in the Middle East. Though launched only in October 2016, Pinngle already boasts almost 5 million users worldwide and offers end-to-end encryption across all its platforms. No data is ever stored on any of Pinngle’s 3 servers.
Telegram Blocked in Iran
Mohammad-Javad Azari Jahromi, Iran’s Minister of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), said that a Telegram channel was encouraging hateful conduct, use of Molotov cocktails, armed uprising, and social unrest, so it was time to stop such encouragements via Telegram.
Pavel Durov noted that calls for violence are prohibited by the Telegram rules. If confirmed, Telegram would have to block the mentioned channel, no matter what size and political affiliation it had.
On January 3, MJ Azari Jahromi said that if Telegram manager didn’t respect Iranians’ demand, they would close the application completely. Telegram removed at least one opposition channel, but the company’s CEO Pavel Durov refused to remove other channels, which, according to him, were peaceful.
As Durov mentions, Telegram considers freedom of speech an undeniable human right. They would prefer to get blocked in a country by its authorities than impose limitations on peaceful expression of alternative opinions. Durov notes that Telegram and Signal are currently blocked by the Iranian authorities, while WhatsApp can still be fully accessed in Iran.
Telegram wasn’t the only case: the Iranian government also blocked access to photo app Instagram for the same purpose. Instagram was temporarily blocked on December 31.
What’s your preferred instant messaging app? Why? Feel free to share your thoughts with us in the comments below.