WhatsApp banned in Iran, is it because Zuckerberg is Jewish?
An Iranian censor has banned the uber-popular messaging app WhatsApp and apparently it's Mark Zuckerberg's own fault... because he's Jewish.
According to Israeli newspaper Haaretz, certain Iranian officials have been pushing for the WhatsApp ban since the company was bought Facebook in February this year. Those officials oppose Facebook -- and now WhatsApp -- because they're run by the "American Zionist" Zuckerberg.
"The reason for this is the adoption of WhatsApp by the Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who is an American Zionist," secretary of the Committee for Determining Criminal Web Content Abdolsamad Khorramabadi said, according to Haaretz.
While certain officials and censors back the ban, the Iranian government -- which has become more moderate since the election of President Hassan Rouhani -- has criticized the ban. In a tweet on Iran's public-facing Twitter account, the Communications Minister Mahmoud Mehr said "Government of #Prudence & #Hope fully opposed to filtering of WhatsApp."
Additionally, Haaretz reports that Mehr also announced that, "The government is completely against the ban on WhatsApp."
Facebook has been blocked in Iran since 2009. Which move came after protesters took to the social network to spread word of opposition against Rouhani's more hardline predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The country has also had a contentious relationship with other social media, e-mail hosts, news sites, and news sites. Over the past few years, the country has shut off access to major international news sites, Google's Youtube and search engine.
Since taking office last year, Rouhani has tried to cast himself as a more tech savvy and politically open leader. And for the past few months, there have been several signs that he might be opening up social media and the Internet in Iran. Rouhani even encouraged his staff and ministers to join
Facebook last September in a government-only endeavor called government-as-Facebook Friends.
While He has made some strides toward a more open Internet for Iranians, it appears the censor's ban of WhatsApp is a step back toward more restriction.