According to a recent statement by the ICT Minister, there are between 42 to 45 million social media users in Iran. The number of users on Iranian messaging apps has also reached 7.5 million.
While it’s not clear which exact social media or networks have been included in this number stated by the ICT Minister, previously in July 2017, the Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance, Reza Salehi Amiri, had stated that there are 47 million active social media users in the country.
This is said while all the major social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Telegram are blocked in the country.
Last week, Mossadegh, the First Deputy Prosecutor of Iran gave a statement that brought blocking speculations for Instagram. Apparently, this decision is due to the activities of some of the Iranian celebrities on Instagram who have collected money from their followers to help the poor. However, it has led to multiple scams.
“Blocking Instagram is on the agenda, and Mr. Khoram Abadi, Deputy Prosecutor General for Cyber Space, has been following this issue seriously and we should see what would happen,” said Mossadegh.
Since 2013, Iran’s Internet and mobile infrastructure have seen tremendous improvements, which has led to the wider access to the internet and a decrease in the prices across the country. As a result —despite the restrictions— the number of social media users have also grown to a great extent.
Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi, the ICT Minister has mentioned a few times that he’s against blocking social networks, and there are even some chances that Twitter might get unblocked in the country. In May 2018, it was announced that 8 out of the 12 members of Iran’s Filtering Committee have written a letter to the Deputy State Prosecutor in charge of Cyberspace Crimes in favor of removing the ban on Twitter. While six of the votes were by Rouhani’s ministers, the other two voters were parliament members.