With the Iranian presidential election only days away, the campaigns of both Rouhani and hardline cleric Ebrahim Raisi, have launched a social media free-for-all unprecedented in Iranian political history. By far the most popular social media outlet is Telegram, a chat service that is a niche player in most Western countries but has some 20 million users in Iran, according to a report by the Iranian Students’ News Agency (ISNA). “Lack of trust in these organizations [state television] has led to a situation where the youth and the educated try to get news via social media such as Telegram, or Whatsapp and Viber or other available social media services”, Iranian Mostafa Koshki said. In Tehran, shopkeeper Mehdi Shahriyari said he believed that social media provided more accurate information than state television and that was why Iranians were turning to more modern forms of news collection. “In my opinion, social media provides us with more accurate and reliable information”, Shahriyari said. “The range of information available on social media is wider, therefore its better, and it does not support any special person [candidate]. Everyone is supporting their own candidate”. Telegram allows users to set up “channels” to broadcast pictures, videos and other messages to a wide following. For Iranian reformers in particular, that offers a way to get out messages that otherwise would be thwarted by censorship. Iran has a young, tech-savvy population: approximately 60 percent of the population of 80 million is under 30.
The Wikileaks organization has published on its website a document,stolen to the CIA, in which speaks about a project that the American agency, in collaboration with other foreign intelligence agencies, would develop in order to control all the electronic equipment, in addition to the apps for messaging such as WhatsApp, Telegram and Signal. Jonathan Liu, the CIA spokesman, said that the Agency have no intention , at least for now, to do any statements concerning the veracity of the document, according to Wikileaks cyber attacks against the DNC and against Hilary Clinton e-mail during the election campaign of 2016 would led by the CIA and are part of the operation “Weeping Angel”.
A Saudi national was sentenced for 7 years in prison by the Specialized Criminal Court in Riyadh for supporting Daesh and communicating with an official of the terrorist organization via WhatsApp. The man confessed he wanted to join Daesh and do a terrorist operation against Alawites. He also informed people of how to enter Syria via Turkey and used social networks to communicate with the organization. For that reasons he was condemned to 7 years in prison, his mobile phone was seized by the court and his account on the social media application was closed.