Iranian court summons Facebook CEO over privacy allegations

BY Diane Jeanty  May 27, 2014 at 12:55 PM EDT

Photo by C Flanigan/WireImage

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Photo by C Flanigan/WireImage

A southern Iranian court has summoned Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg after opening a case over complaints of privacy violations regarding social media applications WhatsApp and Instagram.

The court, located in the southern province of Fars, opened the case after citizens reported breaches of privacy, Reuters reports. This is the second time an Iranian court has opened a case relating to privacy protections on social media sites.

Ordering the apps — both owned by Facebook — to be blocked, the case reflects the growing struggle between Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s campaign to increase internet freedoms and Iranian conservative views.

Earlier this month, Rouhani said that Iran should embrace the internet rather than see it as a threat. Meanwhile those in opposition see the stance as a failure to stop the spread of western culture in Iran.

Although Iranian youth use the internet to bypass the current ban on western cultural products, top officials such as Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Rouhani himself are active on Twitter despite the country’s ban on it.

Zuckerberg is unlikely to take heed to the summons.

Currently, smart filtering is being proposed by the Rouhani administration that would only block sites that the government deems immoral.