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Iran Rounds up 450 Social Network Users - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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London-Iran has “arrested or summoned” around 450 social media users over their activities on networks including smartphone applications such as Instagram, Telegram and WhatsApp, a website linked to the powerful Revolutionary Guards said on Tuesday.

Gherdab, the cyber arm of the Guards, said the people targeted administered pages on the social networks.

“These people were carrying out immoral activities, insulted religious beliefs or had illegal activities in the field of fashion,” said Gherdab.

According to Agence France Presse, the website said the suspects would be put on trial without specifying how many exactly have been placed under arrest.

Isna news agency carried a similar report.

Iranian authorities have for years tried to impose curbs on its citizens using social media.

Facebook and Twitter are officially banned in the country. But applications such as Instagram, Telegram and WhatsApp are available to Iranians and very popular.

More than half of Iran’s population of 80 million is online, with Telegram, an instant messaging app alone having more than 20 million users.

President Hassan Rouhani, a moderate, has repeatedly pointed to the ineffectiveness of measures to limit access to social media.

In May, state news agency IRNA reported that a committee headed by Rouhani had set a one-year deadline for foreign social media to hand over data on their Iranian users.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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