Tens of millions still use Instagram in Iran despite crackdown: Meta | Tech News

Tens of millions still use Instagram in Iran despite crackdown: Meta

Meta has revealed that millions of people in Iran still continue to use Instagram even after government placing a ban on the service.

By:AFP
| Updated on: Feb 24 2023, 07:24 IST
7 Instagram features that you must try- from knowing who is Online to sending silent messages
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1/7 Know who is online on Instagram: Once you open the app, at the top of your inbox, you can see who is free to chat at that moment, helping you find serendipitous opportunities to connect with friends. (Pixabay)
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2/7 Send silent messages: Send messages without notifying friends late at night or when they’re busy by adding “@silent” in your message. Now you can reach out without worrying about sending unwanted notifications. (REUTERS)
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3/7 Reply while you browse: Receive a new message while you are browsing your feed? You can now reply without going to your inbox and losing your place. This new feature makes it that much easier and more convenient to chat while on the app. (Pixabay)
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4/7 Quickly send to friends: You can reshare interesting content without interrupting your Instagram experience. By tapping and holding the share button, you can effortlessly reshare posts to your closest friends. (AP)
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5/7 Keep it on the lo-fi: Feeling chill? Try the new lo-fi chat theme to make your conversations feel more personal. (Reuters)
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6/7 Create a poll with your squad: Deciding where to go to dinner or what time to meet up? Instagram is bringing one of Messenger’s most beloved group chat features on the app so you can create a poll directly in your group chat. (Unsplash)
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7/7 Play, pause, and re-play: Enabled by integrations with Apple Music, Amazon Music, and Spotify coming soon, you can now share a 30-second preview of that song you just can’t get out of your head, and your friends can listen directly from your chat. (Pixabay)
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People in Iran are also using a "light" version of the Instagram app released in Iran last year that is designed for places where internet bandwidth is meager. (Unsplash)

Meta on Thursday said that tens of millions of people in Iran are using Instagram despite government efforts to block the service due to months-long protests.

Iran has been rocked by citizen outrage since the September 16 death in custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini following her arrest for an alleged breach of dress rules for women.

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"Instagram has been widely used by Iranians to shed light on the protests and the brutal response to them," Meta president of global affairs Nick Clegg said during a briefing.

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"People have also shared Instagram footage of the protests with international media outlets, many of whom can't report directly from Iran."

Protests triggered by Amini's death resulted in authorities clamping down on speech and freedom of assembly, and limiting the use of the internet and apps such as Instagram, Clegg noted.

"Despite attempts to block Instagram, we're seeing tens of millions of people still finding ways to access it," Clegg said.

Tactics to access the image-centric social network service include using virtual private network software that encrypts and conceals online activity, said Meta head of security policy Nathaniel Gleicher.

People in Iran are also using a "light" version of the Instagram app released in Iran last year that is designed for places where internet bandwidth is meager, Gleicher added.

Meta has also put policies in place to remove posts that "outs" activists, journalists.

"It's an unfortunate reality that when a government wants to prevent its citizens from having access to public debate, they have a lot of tools in place that they can use to do that," Gleicher said during the briefing.

"But, we are seeing the Iranian efforts not be as effective as I'm sure they would like."

Since Amini's death, hashtags related to protests in Iran have been used on Instagram more than 160 million times, according to Meta.

Iran imposed sanctions this week on 36 individuals and entities from the European Union and Britain in reaction to similar measures against Tehran over its response to the protests.

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First Published Date: 24 Feb, 07:24 IST
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