Iran demands social media to hand over data on its citizens

Iran has set a one-year deadline for foreign social media, such as Facebook, to hand over data on their Iranian users.
Iran has set a one-year deadline for foreign social media, such as Facebook, to hand over data on their Iranian users. PHOTO: AFP

TEHERAN (AFP) - Iran has set a one-year deadline for foreign social media to hand over data on their Iranian users, state news agency IRNA said on Sunday (May 29).

It said the decision was taken on Saturday at a meeting of an Iranian committee on the use of cyberspace headed by President Hassan Rouhani that serves as an IT regulator.

"Foreign social media active in the country must transfer to Iran all the data they hold on Iranian citizens" within a year, IRNA said.

The measure will affect, in particular, Telegram, an instant messaging app with more than 20 million users in the Islamic republic, a country of 80 million people.

IRNA said the committee had also decided to work to develop homegrown social media to compete with foreign networks.

Authorities in Iran, where Facebook and Twitter are officially banned although users can gain access with easily available software, have for years tried to impose curbs on Iranians using social media.

Mr Rouhani, a moderate cleric, has repeatedly pointed to the ineffectiveness of any measures to limit access to social media.