December 30, 2019
The Islamic Republic government official news agency (IRNA) reports that the number of people using Telegram social media app increased by 18% in December.
Telegram is the most popular messaging application in Iran, and more than forty million Iranians use it, officials say.
However, in the aftermath of widespread protests in January 2018 against the clergy-dominated establishment in Iran, the authorities banned the use of Telegram. The government was upset that the app had been used by citizens to spread messages about protests. But people continued to use Telegram more than any other messaging app.
Many small businesses actually depend on the app for selling merchandise and services.
Meanwhile, according to IRNA, using Telegram significantly increased, following government’s decision to disconnect the internet during the most recent unrest in mid-November. Once in early December Internet was mostly restored, Telegram use took off.
“Although using Telegram was limited due to the internet disconnection in the country, using the app started to increase immediately after reconnection of the internet, reaching unprecedented levels in recent months,” IRNA reported.
On average, Telegram was used 197 million times per day more than the previous Iranian month during (November 22-December 21), IRNA said.
Following the disconnection and then the restoration of the Internet due to the anti-regime protest rallies in 28 out of 31 provinces in Iran, there were speculations that the government might stop filtering Telegram.
Nevertheless, the public relations department of Iran’s National Cyberspace Center has dismissed the claims.