Mahmoud Vaezi, Iran’s Minister of Communications stated that during the week leading to the parliamentary election day, 200 million text messages were exchanged online.
In the fifth National Quality Award ceremony held by Communications Infrastructure, Mahmoud Vaezi said that this year’s election had more impact on social networks to the point that during the week leading to the election day, each day 200 Million messages were exchanged by Iranians. You might ask if the government is monitoring people’s messages in social media and messaging apps? The answer as Vaezi puts it, is Yes, but with respect to the people’s privacy. “Every country is monitoring social media as we do, and these data are available to everyone, everyone can see the share of each content in social media,” Vaezi Said.
This number represents 20% of all the messages that have been exchanged by Iranians in social media during the week before the election day. This year’s election had something different in comparison to the elections that have happened before. This year we had more online advertisements and less offline ones. This is actually a good metric for measuring Iranians interests towards being online and using internet based communications. Even without these numbers by only looking at the websites you could realize that we had more online advertisement this year. In comparison previous elections, streets were so much cleaner and you could see much less flyers or brochures on the streets.
Many candidates put their money on online advertisement and used banners in popular websites as a new channel of advertisements for election. Even the price of some banners in certain websites increased during these days. And these are just a few examples, if we want to go even further we can talk about Aparat (YouTube of Iran) and their dedicated campaign plans for candidates to promote themselves or their parties. Overall the Impact of Internet in Iran is getting more visible each day. The country is under a transformation to become fully online.
There was another question regarding if Iran could work with foreign social networks now that the sanctions have been lifted. “We want to empower our domestic social media so this is our first priority. We even have a social media in Iran that has 3 Million users,” Vaezi said. “It’s a trend for social media to move their servers to other countries and use their domains for greater penetration rate.”
The other interesting fact about this year’s election is that there was no disruption regarding the internet connectivity. “Many groups and organizations requested to limit the internet connectivity and social media in the time of election but the government believed in people and that they are aware of how they should use social media,” Vaezi told to the press.
Iran is changing in a fast pace, people are adapting to the new technologies and embracing it. The speed of changes is so fast that we couldn’t have imagined it a few years ago.