TEHRAN- Iran's Revolutionary Guard Targets 450 Social Media Users
TEHRAN, ABC News, Aug. 23, 2016 - The cyber-arm of Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guard says it has summoned, detained and warned some 450 administrators of social media groups in recent weeks.
The announcement Tuesday, carried on a website affiliated with the Guard's cyber arm, says those detained used social media like the messaging app Telegram, which is popular in Iran. The announcement says those detained or summoned made posts that were considered immoral, were related to modeling, or which insulted religious beliefs. It says the Guard only took action after 'judicial procedures' were completed, without elaborating. In May, authorities announced an operation targeting those involved on Instagram. The arrests are part of a larger crackdown by hard-liners on youth and dissidents.
Sky News also reported that Iran has arrested or summoned about 450 social media users. Users of apps such as Instagram, Telegram and WhatsApp have been targeted. A similar report was run by the ISNA news agency. Facebook and Twitter are banned in the Islamic republic, though software that provides access is easily available. More than half of Iran's 80 million population is online. Telegram, an instant messaging app, has more than 20 million users. In May, a committee headed by President Hassan Rouhani is said to have set a one-year deadline for foreign social media to hand over data on their Iranian users.