The investigation of social networks in Iran has shown that each of these networks has had a useful life in the country, and after passing through it, users have decided to move from it to another place and build another home for their virtual activities. Networks that were effective in the country’s political events and because of this, some were inevitably filtered. After the national incidents and protests in the country, Telegram social network was filtered and digital marketing services were damaged. After many discussions, the filter was finally removed. This issue became an excuse to go to the history of social networks in Iran and see which social networks Iranians have turned to in the last decade.


Orkat can be considered the first social network that became popular among Iranians. Members could make new friends on Orcutt through their friends. There were several discussion forums in Orcutt where members could participate and discuss various topics with their friends. Orcutt was owned by Google and started working on January 22. The name “Orcut” is also in honor of a Turkish journalist named “Orcut Boyuk Kokten”, who brought this idea and system to Google from the previous company where he was active. But in 2005, Orcutt found a very serious competitor named “Yahoo 360”, which stole the competition from him.

Yahoo 360

Orcutt’s most serious competitor was Yahoo 360, which became much more popular than Orcutt. This social network belonged to Yahoo and all those who had a Yahoo account could use this service and post the content they wanted on their personal page. This social network was launched in 2005 and became popular among young people and even had its own celebrities. But with the discovery of Facebook’s head, it faded day by day and eventually became obsolete. Yahoo also initiated the plan to shut down this service from the beginning of 2008, and finally, one year later, Yahoo 360 was completely shut down.


Readers and fans liked Friendfeed blog very much. A news reader social network that supported RSS and notified the user of new posts from audiences, blogs and news from news agencies. But Friendfeed was not a serious competitor for its opponents, and its filtering during the riots of 88 is one of its fans. Friendfeed was handed over to Facebook in 2009 and its users decreased day by day. It was finally taken down for good on April 9, 2015.


Undoubtedly, Facebook is the most popular and powerful social network. The social network that had everything and yet in different versions and updates still made new surprises for its audience. Mark Zuckerberg, the creator of Facebook, first created this network at the beginning of 2004 at Harvard University so that students could enroll in it. Little by little, Facebook went further and took over from other universities until it became global. Addiction to a social network first came to the fore with Facebook and became so popular that all age groups became eager to join it.

Many old friends who lost each other found each other in this network. Facebook reduced friendship distances. So that users from different places in the world could communicate with each other. This social network was also filtered in Iran in 2008. But its popularity never decreased and it continued to receive members. Although this social network is still active and dynamic in the world. But in the last two years, there has been a significant drop in Iran. The delay in the release of the mobile version and the simultaneous filtering of this social network can be seen as the reasons for the decline in Facebook fans in Iran. This drop was accompanied by the rise of Instagram and caused the migration of users from Facebook to Instagram. Facebook is currently the largest social network in the world with about 2 billion users.

Google Reader

In 2005, Google added a feed reader called “reader” to its services, which, if not popular all over the world, became very popular among Iranians. In this feed reader, you could follow some people active in this social network by adding the feed of your favorite news agencies, news bases and blogs, and see and even publish links and texts published by them.

At the time of Google Reader, many virtual figures grew up with nicknames and found a name and custom, which later appeared in other social networks with the same names. In March 2013, Google announced that it wanted to close the service due to declining usage. At that time, many Iranian users commented on this post and embarrassed Google administrators. Finally, Google Reader was not shut down shortly after the introduction of Google Plus.

Google Plus

After the closure of Google Reader, the refugees of this social network stepped on Google Plus and started their activities there. Some people considered Google Plus to be a weak copy of Facebook and preferred to be a member of the same Facebook. But due to the lack of Google Plus filters in Iran, some people showed their favor to Plus and continued their activities on this social network. After the Facebook wave fell asleep in Iran Plus, it was dynamic for a while. But the second wave of Twitter and the visual charms of Instagram made Google Plus more and more lonely so that it would not be as prosperous as it is these days.


After the introduction of smartphones and the installation of Android and iOS operating systems in mobile phones, the Instagram social network entered mobile phones. The first version of this popular social network was presented in October 2010, coinciding with Mehr 89. Instagram quickly became popular due to its visual appeal and managed to have 300 million users within 4 years. Instagram and advertising on Instagram are still popular among Iranians, and every day more people open accounts on this network. An important social network that created a series of jobs and many people were able to earn a lot of money in this way.

It can be safely said that Iranians are the most marginalized users of this social network and their footprints can be seen on all Instagram pages. It has often happened that when a specific incident occurs, such as a failure in a football match or the draw of the World Cup, users have rushed to the page of the soccer player or referee in question and settled with him there. Instagram is the first social network that has felt the threat of filtering less than other social networks. Perhaps one of the reasons for this was that this popular social network does not have much of a political function.


Tweet means tweeting, and that’s why the flying blue bird symbol was chosen for this simple and popular social network. The social network whose users could only use 140 characters to express their words until recently, and after several years, this number of characters has recently reached 280. Twitter started in 2006 and as of 2012 had more than 100 million users. In Iran, many users joined this network. Twitter was filtered during the events of 1988 and has remained until today

One of the interesting points about this social network in Iran is that there are two parts to the Twitter wave. Although this social network has been active since 2006, it attracted many Iranian users from the very beginning. It was quiet for a while until a new wave was created in the last one or two years and it came again so that the population of Iranians on Twitter suddenly multiplied. Twitter is perhaps the only social network where the important officials of a country have a specific user account despite being filtered and even in many cases they answer users’ questions.

Twitter is very useful during political protests and the audience tries to make the desired word a global trend by using the same hashtags. For example, after Donald Trump’s baseless statements about Iranians, Iranians used the #shutuptrump hashtag many times in their tweets so that this hashtag became a trend and even Zionist newspapers mentioned it. Political protests on Twitter have always been effective and used by users, that’s why sometimes these protests are also called “Twitter revolutions”. including the Egyptian revolution and unrest in Arab countries, which appeared on Twitter.

Studies conducted on more than 3 million tweets during the unrest in Arab countries showed several gigabytes of YouTube videos and thousands of blog posts, the central role of social media in the formation of political debates in the Arab Spring has been revealed. After the launch of the second wave of Twitter, removing the filter of this network has been talked about many times, but currently it has not yet made a way forward and this social network, whose format is dialogues between Iranian news and politicians, is still in filter mode.

we chat

One of the big dreams of SMS players was to be able to exchange messages cheaper and send more messages to their audience. “WeChat” can be considered the first internet messenger that became popular among Iranians. This Chinese messenger application was produced in China in 2011 and gradually gained many fans. One of the features of this software is to show WeChat users in short distances to the user, which also allows him to make friends. But after it became common among Iranian users, this software was filtered due to not having enough security to prevent Iranians from using it.


Viber was launched in December 2010, and after WeChat, it took over smartphones. Viber quickly became popular due to its beautiful and easy messaging environment. One of the strengths of this messenger for Windows was that users could use this messenger with their laptops and exchange their videos and photos with their friends easily. Users even formed friendship groups in Viber and were able to strengthen their connections.

Viber had a serious competitor called WhatsApp, which heated up the competition between the two. But in the end, WhatsApp became more popular globally, so that this software was put in the shade. One of the reasons for the rapid obsolescence of Viber among Iranians was the Israeli nature of this software, which caused Iranians to move to another place after finding the first alternative software and do not want to continue their conversations on Viber. After Iranian Viber users migrated, this software was quietly filtered.


At the same time and even after Viber, the WhatsApp messenger became extremely popular among Iranians. The software that had faster speed and the best shape compared to its Israeli counterpart. This software, which became widespread all over the world in 2014, was free only in the first year, and in the following years, it asked its users for an amount equivalent to $0.99, but it finally became free. WhatsApp became very popular among the people of the world, especially the Arabs, so that it made Viber completely obsolete. It became popular among Iranians for a while. But in the end, Iranians chose to move away from WhatsApp and find a better home for their conversations and moved to a strange application called Telegram.


Another social network that appeared on mobile phones and became somewhat popular was “Line”. Japanese software that became the largest social network in Japan within two years. Iranians used Line at the same time as other messaging software. But one of Line’s features, which showed who has your number stored in their phone memory, made it available in most smart phones. Line also had a micro-blog within itself where the audience could write about themselves and comment on their posts. But this network could never have the popularity of its similar software.


At the end of 1993, messaging was found in all kinds of mobile phones, which turned the world of communication upside down for its Iranian users. A software that influenced even the world of news and media and created independent news channels. At first, the Telegram world was limited to messaging and creating friendship groups. But the advantage that distinguished this network from similar examples was the speed and ability to send large files. After that, Telegram made it possible to create channels in its next updates, which was like a big revolution in social networks.

All the press became active by creating their own news channel on Telegram and the audience also preferred to follow the news through these channels because Telegram was able to make access much easier. Gradually, some of these channels were used as a gallery and created home jobs for themselves and were able to earn money in this way. Despite all the colorful social networks, Mail, or the email inbox, has never been threatened. But Telegram also affected emails with its web and Windows versions.

And even their market slowed down so that users prefer to send their work files quickly and easily through Telegram instead of emailing the desired person. The Telegram company has repeatedly assured the audience about its security and even offered a reward of three hundred thousand dollars to find a bug in it, but in the end there was no winner. This is the reason for the confidence of the audience of this network. The filtering of this important social network was brought up many times in the meetings of the country’s officials, and every time Telegram was able to survive under the sharp blade of filtering.

Several times, the relevant authorities assured that they will not do anything to this popular social network, but on January 10, 1996, with the emergence of street riots and people’s incitement through anti-revolutionary channels in this messenger, the authorities preferred the most popular The country’s history social network will finally deliver filtering. After the Telegram filter, rumors about possible alternatives to this messenger became hot. Many domestic and foreign messengers were mentioned. But currently, none of them could take the vacant place of a giant like Telegram for their members. It is not known where the fate of this popular social network will be.


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