Officials in Iran have blocked residents in the country from using WhatsApp, citing the fact that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg — who purchased the messaging app a couple months ago — is Jewish.
“The reason for this is the assumption of WhatsApp by the Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who is an American Zionist,” said Abdolsamad Khorramabadi, head of the country’s Committee on Internet Crimes, according to Fox News.
But, according to Haaretz, the ban has caused a conflict within the government, which has been trying to implement more modern social policies.
“The government is completely against the ban on WhatsApp,” Communications Minister Mahmoud Mehr told the state news agency IRNA, according to Haaretz.
And according to the Washington Post, the Committee for Determining Criminal Web Content does not have the authority to implement the ban. WhatsApp continues to work in Iran, at least for the time being.
An Iranian blogger who asked to remain anonymous told Fox News:
The Revolutionary Guard sees these social sites as a major threat because there’s an appeal for young people and the government worries about the exchange of information. [Supreme Leader] Khamenei and his cronies, caught on to the power and potential of these sites after the [Green Revolution] uprisings.
This isn’t the first time that the country has blocked a service. It blocked WeChat in December, and has previously blocked Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. According to a report in Al Jazeera, several Iranian agencies control the Internet, but not all of them agree on the policies.
Facebook has not yet commented on the reports, according to both Haaretz and Fox News.
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