The mobile messaging app Telegram is popular in Iran, where citizens who have limited access to uncensored news and mainstream social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, use it to share and access information. But the app'sestimated 20 million users in Iran, including those who use Telegram to report and communicate with sources, could be putting themselves at severe risk of data compromise, security experts warn, cpj.org reports.
In Iran--which ranks seventh on CPJ's 10 Most Censored Countries list--authorities have blocked millions of news websites and social networking sites, and use arbitrary detentions as a way to silence dissent. Iran is also the third worst jailer of journalists worldwide, according to CPJ's last prison census. In at least two cases on the census, journalists were arrested over social media posts.
"If social media sites were not filtered in Iran, instant messaging applications would have been used at the same rate as other countries. Iranian users would have probably preferred to use Twitter or Facebook," an Iranian blogger known as Vahid Online told CPJ. The blogger, who is based in the U.S. and has more than 44,000 followers on Telegram, uses the app to post summaries of news items and the most notable reactions to them. Many of the reactions are tweets, Facebook posts or blog posts that would otherwise be blocked for Iranians.