Iran shuts down Telegram, Instagram apps in middle of anti-government protests

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty/YouTube

More than half of the country’s population reportedly uses Telegram.

As many Iranians continue their government protests, the country has shut down the Telegram and Instagram apps that allow many citizens to communicate with other protesters and the outside world, according to multiple media outlets.

On the third day of Iran’s largest protests since 2009 that has reportedly killed two people, authorities “temporarily” blocked the apps to “maintain peace,” the Washington Post reported.

“It has been decided in the highest security level to restrict access to Telegram and Instagram,” a government source told Iranian state TV, via Reuters.

Pavel Durov, the founder and CEO of Telegram, confirmed the blockage on Twitter.

On Saturday, Iran’s communication minister asked Durov via Twitter to shut down a specific Telegram channel for inciting violence, according to CNN. Durov agreed to it.

The protests started when citizens facing rising prices on food and gasoline began their public dissent. It has since turned political with people reportedly chanting slogans against Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani. The demonstrations have spread to cities throughout the country.

President Donald Trump weighed in on the protests via Twitter, giving his support to the protesters.

According to the BBC, more than 50 percent of the country’s population of 80 million people are active on Telegram.

Josh Katzowitz

Josh Katzowitz

Josh Katzowitz is a staff writer at the Daily Dot specializing in YouTube and boxing. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times. A longtime sports writer, he's covered the NFL for CBSSports.com and boxing for Forbes. His work has been noted twice in the Best American Sports Writing book series.