Despite a ban on the popular messaging application Telegram, Iranians continue using the app, resorting to circumvention techniques, including virtual private networks, VPNs, and anti-filtering software, a recent survey conducted by Radio Farda shows.
Radio Farda asked its Telegram subscribers about their likely behavior as the authroities try to block access to Telegram. Would they use another messaging app or try to remain a Telegram user. More than 90 per cent responded saying they use anti-filtering software and had no intention of moving to alternative platforms.
Of the total 9485 respondents, 9024 chose “stay on Telegram using filtering circumvention software”.
A very small group of 304 respondents said they have decided to move to alternative foreign messeging apps.
The number of respondents who said they will use domestic apps was negligible.
The survey is not a scientific poll and simply reflects the opinion of some of Radio Farda's Telegram fans.
The survey was posted on May 5, 2018, five days after Telegram was officially blocked by the Islamic Republic.
Iran's Culture and Media Court ordered the ban on Telegram on April 30, asserting that Telegram had been used to organize actions threatening Iran's security, including anti-establishment protests in December and January, and terrorist attacks on the parliament and Ayatollah Rouhollah Khomeini's shrine last June.
On May 7, Deputy Speaker of the Iranian Parliament Ali Motahari said the decision to ban Telegram in Iran was made based on a “state decree” issued by the country’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Shortly after filtering Telegram, in an Instagram post, President Rouhani described the court order as bogus and ordered from above and said, his administration had not blocked or filtered any social media website and the “arbitrary” order to block Telegram without due process was opposing the principles of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Almost half of the 80 million Iran’s population were using Telegram for various reasons, including accessing uncensored news. Exactly for the same reason, the conservatives were pressuring the government for a long time to filter Telegram.