Two officials of the Iranian regime in an appearance on state television last week made plain their fear of the internet and the popularity of social media among young Iranians.
Reza Taqipour, a member of the regime’s Supreme Council of Cyberspace, acknowledged the vast presence of young Iranians on social networks, especially on Telegram.
“Different figures are presented and estimated for Telegram which currently has the highest number of users [in Iran]. According to official statistics it has 25 million users. I have heard recently that an unofficial source estimated this figure to be 40 million users [in Iran], while this social network has only 100 million users in the world,” Taqipour said.
Ali Fallah, another member of the council, expressed concern about the popularity of the internet and social media among Iran’s youths.
“The nights and days spent in cyberspace distance us from the world and they distance us from other people as well. People open their gates and they can go in any direction that they wish. The lack of discipline in cyberspace is a concern to people. Now the moral status, norms and privacy has become very disordered,” Fallah said.
While acknowledging that the regime’s policy of filtering networks has been ineffective, he said: “Personally, I have explained this issue many times; filtering can only solve five percent of the problem.”
In order to whitewash the regime’s website filters, he added: “All countries have smart filtering systems in order to remove inappropriate contents. We must apply this system to our networks.”