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Registration of Popular Telegram Channels Mandatory in Iran

Registration of Popular Telegram Channel Administrators Mandatory in IranRegistration of Popular Telegram Channel Administrators Mandatory in Iran

Administrators of channels “and similar services on social media” which have 5,000 or more followers are obliged to register their identity validation with the Ministry of Culture.

The head of the Digital Media and Information Technology Center, affiliated to the ministry, says the rules are now in effect.

According to ISNA, the ruling concerns owners of channels on popular messaging application Telegram and was approved in December by the High Council of Cyberspace. The council is headed by President Hassan Rouhani.

“If the entities to whom this rule applies do not take action in the month following this announcement, they will have committed an illegal act,” Morteza Mousavian told a local radio program.

He said without elaboration that the main purpose is “to identify the owners of the channels.”   

Telecoms Minister Mahmoud Vaezi had said last month that the measure aims to stop the spread of “fake news.”

Although several local messaging apps have been created to compete with Telegram, few if any Iranian Internet users have  shown interest in the local versions. This is reportedly because they feel their personal information may be at risk with the local apps.   

Data shows that the Telegram Messenger now has 170,000 Persian channels, 11,000 of which have more than 5,000 members. An estimated 45 million Iranians actively use the app. However, some owners of certain channels which post Persian language content do not reside in Iran.

Other popular social media applications like Instagram, do not appear to be included in the recent ruling, however, the reach of the new ruling could be expanded to these services as well.

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