News / Middle East

Iranian Supreme Leader 'Likes' Facebook

A screenshot of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's Facebook page.
A screenshot of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's Facebook page.
TEXT SIZE - +
Not to be outdone by the Pope’s creation of a Twitter account, Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has joined Facebook, a site off limits to most Iranians due to internet filters imposed by the state.

The public page was launched Friday, and already has over 5,000 likes. It is run by Khamenei’s staff and so far has posted four photos of Iran’s most powerful man.

The profile picture is his official seal with his handwritten signature and full name in Persian script “Seyed Ali Khamenei,” and the cover photo shows him riding in a car among his followers.

There are also links to his speeches as well as a picture of a young Khamenei alongside the founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, in the 1960s.

The few posts have received a lot of feedback, with hundreds of likes and comments ranging from messages of love to extreme criticism and even wishes for his death.

Unlike the Pope, who just joined Twitter earlier in December, Khamenei has been using the short messaging site since March of 2009.

The office of Iran's Supreme Leader also runs a website www.khamenei.ir, an outlet that publishes news and information in 13 languages, and an Instagram site.

Iranian watchers were not surprised by Khamenei’s move to Facebook.

“Ayatollah Khamenei and his cohorts have a clear-cut record in using social media tools to spread their message when it suits them,” says Alex Vatanka, a scholar at the Washington-based Middle East Institute. “There are hundreds of pro-regime websites paid for by the regime. But the playing field is far from level. Inside Iran, the regime is in the enviable position where it can block anyone they don’t like from competing with them in cyberspace. They are not asking for an open contest of ideas, because I am sure the regime thinks – rightly in my view – they will lose that battle."

Khamenei’s Twitter account has occasionally been used to publish controversial statements. An example was in August, when it published a statement condemning the 2011 takeover of the British Embassy in Tehran.

The tweet read: “Leader of the revolution in a meeting with students: in the recent takeover of that evil embassy [England], the youth were right in their emotions but their behavior was not right.”

That was the first time Ayatollah Khamenei publicly condemned the highly publicized attack, which was attributed to students and resulted in Britain cutting ties with Iran.

While both Twitter and Facebook are blocked by Iran’s Internet censors, they are still widely used by Iranians with the technical know how to get around the bans.

During the 2009 post-election protests known as the 'Green Movement' in Iran, social media outlets such as Facebook and YouTube served as powerful tools for protesters. It allowed them to publish images and videos and convey what was happening in Iran.

Despite Khamenei’s move onto a banned website, Iran has long claimed it is developing its own national intranet, Halal internet, which officials say will be free of un-Islamic content and will be easier to monitor. Iran recently launched its own version of Youtube called MehrTube.

You May Like

Analysts Warn of Regional Proxy Conflict in Afghanistan

Analysts warn if Kabul’s neighbors do not start to cooperate, competing desires for influence could deteriorate into a bloody proxy war in the country More

Saudi Intelligence Chief Replaced

Bandar bin Sultan came under criticism for supporting al Qaida, prompting King Abdallah to wrest Syria operations away from him in February, handing them to Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef More

Poetry Magazine editor Don Share talks what makes a good poem with VOA's David Byrd

What makes a good poem? And is poetry as viable an art form as it once was? To find out, VOA's David Byrd spoke to Don Share, the editor of Poetry Magazine. More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: BEANCUBE from: Seattle, WA
December 18, 2012 8:04 PM
Iranians need to distribute more hardware with Linux around the world. They are available, just find them from China, Korea, and Indonesia, do some test, start an industry, create encriptions and distribute it as a low cost platform for smart-phones, tablets, notebooks and PCs around the world. Don't be isolated by Zionists.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid