Iran Interrogates, Detains Facebook Users | Freedom House

Iran Interrogates, Detains Facebook Users


In response to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s detention and interrogation of 36 social media users on January 31, Freedom House released the following statement: 

“The Revolutionary Guards’ detention of social media users for no reason other than use of Facebook shows the government’s hostility to fundamental human rights, including freedom of expression and freedom to access information,” said Robert Herman, vice president for international programs. “President Hassan Rouhani should publicly demand that the Revolutionary Guards immediately release the detainees.” 


The Center for the Study of Organized Cyber Crimes, an extra-judicial branch of the Revolutionary Guards,  arrested 12 individuals and summoned another 24 for interrogation as part of an operation called Project Spider,  to “disrupt Western social media and the vulgar and obscene content it spreads,” an official statement said.

Those detained were men in their mid-20s from various provinces in Iran and singled out, according to the statement, because their Facebook pages “promote a liberal and open-minded culture, weaken the sacred institution of the family, ridicule religious beliefs and values, promote immoral and unethical relationships, and spread private pictures of young women.” 

Iran is rated Not Free in Freedom of the World 2015, Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2014, and Not Free in Freedom on the Net 2014

Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.

Join us on Facebook and Twitter (freedomhouse). Stay up to date with Freedom House’s latest news and events by signing up for our newsletter.