updated 06:07 pm EDT, Sun May 25, 2014
Application blocked by court order after lawsuit filed over privacy concerns
Facebook-owned Instagram has been blocked in Iran, marking another social media block from the country this month. A different Facebook company, WhatsApp, was banned at the beginning of the month, stemming from Mark Zuckerberg's family heritage, which is Jewish. Instagram was also temporarily banned in the country for 12 hours last December.
Instagram was blocked after a private lawsuit was filed, resulted in a court order being handed to Iran's Ministry of Telecommunications. Details of the lawsuit were not given by the Associated Press, but the report indicates that it was filed over privacy concerns. Even though the ban has been announced, it doesn't necessarily mean that the site will be fully blocked, as some reports of blocks in the past never materialized. However, semi-official news outlet Mehr News confirmed the ban.
Privacy concerns are most likely tied to the location of the Instagram servers outside of the country. A recent server change that saw Instagram's network moved to Facebook servers created an interruption of service prior to the announcement of the ban. Users were unable to see photos, since Facebook servers had already been blocked in the country.
Users in Iran will have to turn to workarounds to use the service, which many employ to be able to access Facebook and Twitter. Citizen access to social media in Iran sits in stark contrast to the access high ranking officials are afforded for political reasons.