Is a censored social network better than no social media access at all? Iranian officials seem to think so. According to police chief Esmaeil Ahmadi Moghadam, the authorities are currently building an intelligent system to scan and censor social media platforms, instead of simply blocking them.
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According to an AFP report, Ahmadi Moghadam said that the “smart control of social networks will not only avoid their disadvantages, but will also allow people to benefit from their useful aspects. Smart control of social networks is better than filtering them completely.”
Currently, social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are completely blocked in Iran, although citizens get around the restrictions by creating virtual private networks (VPNs). The government has consistently tried to limit citizens access to what it views as un-Islamic content, and has previously taken to censoring Gmail and Google Search, as well as blocking YouTube, in its bid to limit access to ‘inappropriate’ websites.
Iran, which was named the biggest enemy to internet freedom, is also planning to eventually disconnect from the larger internet after the development of its nationwide intranet (dubbed ‘Irantranet’) is complete.