Iran wants Facebook's Help in Fighting Porn
|July 25, 2012|
The following article first appeared on CNET. To access, click HERE.
Iranian officials are hoping to team up with Facebook in an effort to remove Pages and Groups that feature pornography or are soliciting prostitution. More broadly, the Iranian police force has announced plans to cleanse the Internet of content its country deems inappropriate.
The new tidbit comes from the semi-official Iranian news agency ISNA (via the Associated Press), which interviewed Commander Kamal Hadianfar, the head of Iran's cyber-police. He promised the country will work with Facebook for the new initiative, but did not elaborate on what the plan would entail.
"Pornography is a crime not just in Iran but also in other countries such as the United States," Hadianfar told ISNA, according to a translation by Radiozamaneh. "In 2010, Facebook served as a free domain for criminals, but in the name of God and with the presence of the police over the past 15 months, we have made many significant moves to cleanse social networks, especially that of Facebook."
Facebook of course doesn't allow porn on its service. Under the Safety section of Facebook's Terms of Service (Statement of Rights and Responsibilities), the seventh point clearly states: "You will not post content that: is hate speech, threatening, or pornographic; incites violence; or contains nudity or graphic or gratuitous violence."
Then again, Iran's definition of porn is not the same as that of the American government. I'm pretty sure Iran is concerned with anything that could imply innappropriate content, such as the image above. If Facebook allowed ever allowed full-out porn, Iranians would be permanently denied access to Facebook before they could say "censorship."
Still, the announcement is quite a departure from Iran's previous stance on Facebook. Iranian officials have previously banned the social network after it was used by activists. During the 2009 election in Iran, the service was blocked because of fears that opposition movements were being organized on the website.
Iran apparently sees some value in Facebook if it isn't just outright barring the site again. When it comes to porn though, the country's government shows no mercy.
Earlier this year, Iran's Supreme Court confirmed the death sentence for Saeed Malekpour, who was convicted by the state for developing software used on a porn site. The software that Malekpour developed enables photos to be uploaded online and, according to Amnesty International, was used by a porn site without his knowledge. Nevertheless, the Iranian-born Canadian resident was convicted of "insulting and desecrating Islam."