Baku, Azerbaijan, Sept. 13
By Umid Niayesh - Trend:
Number of Iranians who are using Telegram, a mobile social networks application has witnessed a huge increase, according to the official statistics.
Currently, some 13 million Iranians use Telegram, the Islamic Republic's communications and information technology ministry, secretary of Iran's Supreme Council of Cyberspace Mohammad Hassan Entezari said, Iran's Mehr news agency reported Sept. 13.
He criticized using foreign social networks saying it is targeting Iranian life style.
Foreign social networks should not be permitted to be accessible inside the country without any limitations, the Iranian official stressed.
Certain regulations should be implemented on the issue for protecting Iran's native identity, Entezari said.
He further said that if domestic social networks attract more users as Telegram did, it will be beneficial for the country in terms of culture and economy.
Meanwhile millions of Iranians use foreign mobile social networks applications such as Telegram and WhatsApp, the most popular domestic communication application, BisPhone has almost 800,000 users.
Unofficial statistics suggest that at least 4.5 to five million of Iranian citizens use WhatsApp mobile social networks application.
Iran's Culture Minister Ali Jannati earlier said that 9.5 million Iranians use the social app Viber and 4 to 4.5 million use Facebook.
Entezari further said that a comprehensive project is approved in the supreme council of cyberspace to provide access to useful content and prevent access to harmful content in the cyber space, dubbed "safe cyber space plan."
The project is passing its final tests and will be operational in 3 months, providing Internet users a safe cyber space without filtering, he said.
He did not unveil further details on the project, but it seems the new project will be similar to the Islamic Republic's smart filtering software which is capable of detection of "inappropriate" content (including text, image and video) online and limiting access to them. The smart filtering is a step from the existing filtering system in Iran that blocks the access to the whole website.
It should be noted that several of world's most popular networks, such as Twitter and Facebook are banned in Iran, while users are still able to access them via proxies. A proxy allows bypassing 'gates' meant to block certain sites.
A survey by Iranian Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports shows that 69.3 percent of the country's young generation use proxy servers to by-pass the filters and access banned Internet websites.
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