While there are rumors about the messaging app, Telegram, to be blocked in Iran for several reasons, the majority of the Iranian people keep using it as their main messaging app. This is when multiple local messengers have been developed and running, and also are being widely advertised in different ways by the state-owned media. Some of these apps are funded by well-established companies or banks and all are supported by the government. However with the many measures taken by the government and other organizations, the migration of users out of Telegram is not going as expected. Here are 3 reasons why the Iranian people are hesitating to migrate:
1. Almost Everyone Is Still on Telegram
Naturally, communication with others is the very essence of a messenger application, which what makes it dependent on everyone’s circle of contacts. Today Telegram is the far most used messenger in the counter with over 40 million users. This means if someone switches their main messenger it would inevitably decrease their contact with the ones that don’t.
Apart from that, Telegram is definitely functioning more than just a messenger. It’s used in different environments such as workplaces, universities as well as the social atmosphere. Therefore this makes the sudden migration process almost impossible and challenges other messengers to attract people as soon as possible and at any cost to be able to compete with the 40 million user messenger, Telegram.
2. No Better Replacements
Being the dominant messenger app in Iran, Telegram grew faster and better than any other of its rivals. This company has managed to do a great job offering new features to its users every now and then. These features perfectly met the needs of the users, making them more dependent on the app. When sudden concerns about Telegram were raised, the government encouraged startups to create and develop local messengers to replace the app. Currently 5 of them are approved by the ministry of ICT. However in addition to people’s concerns about the privacy and security issues of these apps, they are still not ready for servicing 40 million users at the moment. Another point is that what most of these local messenger apps seem to lack is creativity and innovation. Meaning that in terms of the app’s design and features and even in some cases source codes are exactly the same or similar to Telegram.
3. Feeling Forced to Migrate!
Until now the process of switching to a new messenger in Iran was almost always by blocking the old one. This blocking was usually due to the country’s inaccessibility to the content published on the app. However with Telegram, the case is more complicated than before. This messenger as previously told, has direct influence on Iran’s economic status. This influence is quite noticeable, and the fact that Telegram is coming up with its own digital currency makes the matter more intense. Therefore not having enough awareness about telegram’s economic concerns and challenges, Iranians have no other strong reason to migrate other than being told and advertised.
Whether Telegram gets blocked or not, the dilemma of social media apps will remain as a challenge in the country as it has been before. But what can be done in this situation, is raising further awareness and studying on the effects and influences of this field in order to get the best out of them rather turning into a threat.