Iran bans Instagram
Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani is a major presence on Instagram, where his verified account regularly sends out posts to an audience of more than 2 million followers.
But Rouhani’s account will no longer be officially allowed in the country after authorities in Iran announced plans to ban the photo sharing app, citing national security concerns.
Iran’s National Cyberspace Council has approved steps to block Instagram, according to local reports, following crackdowns on other social media apps.
Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Telegram are already banned in the Islamic Republic, with internet providers ordered to block access to the services.
The apps have often been used as a way to spread anti-government messages, with Telegram in particular, often cited as a national security concern.
Instagram is the last major social media service officially available in Iran, and Rouhani’s official account has posted more than one thousand times, often showing pictures of flag-waving crowds and the president himself on photo-ops, with accompanying messages in Persian.
It is unclear when Iran’s ban is due to go into effect. The country curbed access to some internet services, including intermittently restricting Instagram, a year ago, a move that Donald Trump criticised at the time.
The block comes as Iran has increasingly been blamed for attempts to use social media to disrupt politics in the UK and the US. In August, Facebook, which owns Instagram, deleted hundreds of accounts on both services that were linked to Iranian state media.