The Iranian government has blocked the Signal app, which is rising in popularity across the country like in other parts of the world. The exact reasons were unknown for this action, but it was removed from the major apps stores in the nation with a thank you message set when tried downloading. Signal said to be in working to circumvent this.
Iran Blocks Signal App
The Iranian government has seen a sharp spike in registrations into the Signal app, and thus, “Unable to stop registration, the IR sensors are now dropping all Signal traffic,” tweeted Signal. It said it’s hasn’t given up yet, as “Iranian people deserve privacy” and “working around Iran’s censorship.”
Ever since Signal simultaneously hit #1 on the 🇮🇷 Play Store and #1 on the 🇮🇷 government's block list, we've been working around 🇮🇷 censorship.
Unable to stop registration, the IR censors are now dropping all Signal traffic.
Iranian people deserve privacy. We haven't given up.
— Signal (@signalapp) January 25, 2021
The government has ordered the local app stores, Cafe Bazaar and Myket to pull down Signal from their marketplaces on January 14th, which was complied with almost immediately. And starting Monday, users have reported connection issues using the Signal app, because of their traffic being dropped.
It’s said the app was dropped because of identifying “criminal content” and be used for planning harmful activities against the government officials. This was tried by Iranian citizens earlier, thus triggering the government again now to protect themselves. This isn’t the first time Signal was blocked though.
Back in 2016 and 2017, it was blocked and reinstated silently soon. Now, banning Signal makes it join the official list of banned social media apps in Iran, like Facebook, Twitter, Telegram, and YouTube. Thus, only Instagram and WhatsApp remain active in Iran.
Yet, analysts say this ban is not going to be effective, since Iranian people have already accustomed to such censorships and know how to circumvent them. Many are using VPNs to mask their identity, and been using the banned services for years in millions in numbers.