Free access to social media may help Iran fight unemployment (Exclusive)
Baku, Azerbaijan, Aug. 29
By Farhad Daneshvar – Trend:
Unblocking banned social media platforms could help the Iranian government bring down the unemployment rate which has already climbed over 12.5 percent, touching 3.3 million individuals in the country.
Derin Cag, Board Member at UK-based Humaniq, believes that social media is a valuable asset to any economy leveraging it and this is indisputable.
While Iranians have been barred from access to popular social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter for years, the country’s top communications official, Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi, says that negotiations are underway that could lead to unblocking of Twitter.
"Social media creates new jobs for entrepreneurs, copywriters, app developers, web designers, security experts and digital marketers to name a few. As a result, this brings down national unemployment, which improves economic indicators. In addition, social media improves sales by double-figure percentages for all types of businesses, hence stabilizing consumer prices and increasing GDP in parallel," Derin Cag told Trend.
Facebook and Twitter have been heavily filtered to prevent access in the Islamic republic following the 2009 post-election disputes. However, social media has hardly been ignored by some of the country's high-ranking authorities, including the office of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.
"A Facebook-sponsored study found that the social network has created 4.5 million jobs around the world and added $227 billion to the global economy in 2014," Derin Cag said citing an earlier report by CNN.
According to the World Bank, the Iranian economy bounced back sharply in 2016 at an estimated 6.4 percent. However, the unemployment rate returned to a three-year high of 12.7 percent (or 3.3 million unemployed) in the second quarter of 2016 despite the high growth rate in this period.
"Furthermore, social media enables the forming of important relationships between businesses and their market by simplifying ways of advanced communications. And the most impressive part of using social media is that all this can be accomplished with little or no budget," Cag said.
Derin Cag added that Iran is currently deprived of such opportunities because of restrictions on platforms like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.
"There is a lot to gain and little to lose by unblocking the usage of prominent social media platforms in this region," Cag said.