Facebook Becomes More Popular in Iran despite Being Blocked
Facebook, the most popular social networking website in the world, played an important role in Iran’s 2009 election protests. In that time, Facebook was mainly utilized by Iranian demonstrators to organize protests against the ruling government. As a result, the Iranian government officially blocked the website at the same time.
Although it is still blocked in Iran, a large number of Iranian Internet users have managed to circumvent the country’s notorious filtering system. Currently, millions of Iranians have registered accounts in Facebook in order to connect with their friends and society.
Hossein Keramati, who has recently opened his very first account in Facebook, says: “As soon as I registered in Facebook, I noticed that many of my friends have already signed up at Facebook. I have added most of them to my friends list, and I exchange messages with them on daily basis.”
Chimigi, an Iranian independent analytical company, estimates that more than 40% of Internet clients in Iran are actively using Facebook. According to the statistics released by other unofficial institutions, Iranians have opened around 6 million accounts only in Facebook.
“The social networking websites have helped me to keep in touch with my friends out of school. I share my pictures and statuses with them, they do so.” Shabnam Rezai, an Iranian schoolgirl, told the Herald Boy.
Based on Facebook’s terms of services, users are banned from sharing and posting adult contents. This has encouraged Iran’s Muslim families to allow their children to open accounts in these websites.
“My aunt lives in the United States. By using Facebook, my family can stay in touch with her.” Rezai added.
On the other side, the number of Iranian politicians using Facebook and Twitter is increasing significantly. Hassan Rouhani, the new president of Iran, used Twitter to promote his campaign for 2013 presidential election. Accordingly people expect him to unblock social networking websites in the country.