Iran summons Facebook's Zuckerberg over privacy

May 27, 2014
In this February 24, 2014 photo Facebook's creator Mark Zuckerberg speaks on the opening day of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona

An Iranian judge has summoned Facebook co-founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg to answer allegations that his company's apps have breached people's privacy, it was reported Tuesday.

A series of rows over Internet access have in recent months underscored the gulf between Iranian moderates, who seek fewer online restrictions, and conservatives who want more.

In Iran, Zuckerberg has been dubbed the "Zionist manager" of Facebook, on account of his Jewish heritage.

The court in Fars province has ordered the American tech tycoon to address violation of privacy claims over the reach of the Facebook-owned WhatsApp and Instagram services, ISNA news agency reported.

"Based on the judge's verdict, the Zionist manager of Facebook... should report to the prosecutor's office to defend himself and make compensation for damages," Rouhollah Momen-Nasab, a senior Iranian Internet security official, told ISNA.

"Following a complaint lodged by some of our fellow countrymen over the violation of their privacy and problems ensuing from WhatsApp and Instagram, the judiciary official has ordered a ban on these two software devices," he said.

However, a prosecutor in Shiraz, the provincial capital, denied Zuckerberg had been summoned, though claims against WhatsApp and Instagram seeking "the release of pictures and films," were being investigated.

"There are complaints against these sites for Internet fraud and release of obscene photos and the plaintiffs have asked the judiciary to identify those who are involved," prosecutor Ali Alqasi told the official IRNA news agency.

Neither WhatsApp or Instagram have been blocked, he said.

Access to social networks, including Twitter and Facebook, are routinely filtered by Iranian authorities, as are other websites considered un-Islamic or detrimental to the regime.

President Hassan Rouhani, a self-declared moderate, has promised greater tolerance on social, cultural and media issues—a vow that helped him defeat conservatives in last year's election.

But his fledgling push has been opposed by traditionalists and ultra-conservatives that hold sway in the establishment and key institutions.

Officials have voiced support for lifting the wider ban on social media, with some of them having Facebook or Twitter accounts.

Rouhani this month vetoed a plan to ban WhatsApp, preventing implementation of curbs sought by Iran's Committee for Determining Criminal Web Content.

Explore further: Iran president vetoes WhatsApp ban: reports

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Iran president vetoes WhatsApp ban: reports

May 07, 2014

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani has vetoed a plan to ban WhatsApp, following a row over censorship of the popular messaging application, media reports said Wednesday.

Report: Iran court orders Instagram blocked

May 23, 2014

An Iranian court ordered that the photo-sharing app Instagram be blocked over privacy concerns, a semiofficial news agency reported Friday, the latest in a series of websites to be banned in the Islamic Republic.

Recommended for you

China web users laud Apple boss for coming out

Oct 31, 2014

Apple chief Tim Cook's announcement of his homosexuality was the top topic on Chinese Internet forums Friday, with many users lauding him as a hero—and some joking about his declaration. ...

Sistine chapel dazzles after technological makeover

Oct 30, 2014

High above the altar in the Vatican's Sistine Chapel, the halo around Jesus Christ's head in Michelangelo's famous frescoes shines with a brighter glow, thanks to a revolutionary new lighting system.

Free urban data—what's it good for?

Oct 29, 2014

Cities around the world are increasingly making urban data freely available to the public. But is the content or structure of these vast data sets easy to access and of value? A new study of more than 9,000 ...

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

rockwolf1000
not rated yet May 27, 2014
I'll bet Zuckerberg is booking his flight to Iran right now!
padraic526
not rated yet May 27, 2014
I had no idea that smoking crack was popular among the legal profession in Iran.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.