Mark Zuckerberg has been ordered to appear in an Iranian court to answer complaints the Facebook-owned applications Instagram and WhatsApp violate individuals' privacy.
The semi-official news agency INSA quoted Ruhollah Momen Nasab, an official with the paramilitary Basij force, as saying that the judge in the south of the country had also ordered the two services be blocked. Facebook owns both Instagram and WhatsApp.
It is unlikely Mr Zuckerberg, Facebook's founder and CEO, will appear in court because the US and Iran do not have an extradition treaty. Similar rulings have been issued in recent years and not been carried out. A separate Iranian court ordered last week that Instagram be blocked over privacy concerns.
But users in the capital, Tehran, could still access both applications on Tuesday. Websites and applications have sometimes been reported as blocked but remained operational. Earlier this month the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that Iran's censor had decided to ban WhatsApp.
Abdolsamad Khorramabadi, head of the country’s Committee on Internet Crimes, was quoted at the time as saying: "The reason for this is the assumption of WhatsApp by the Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who is an American Zionist."
Mr Zuckerberg was raised as Jewish by his family in New York, but identifies as an atheist. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are already blocked by Iran, although the bans do not have the backing of President Hassan Rouhani's moderate administration. Tech-savvy citizens use proxy servers and other workarounds to get past the controls.
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