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Twatter: A New App for Censors?

August 30, 2017
Peyvand Khorsandi
3 min read
Twatter: A New App for Censors?

Could there be collusion between social media companies in the West and the censors of the Islamic Republic of Iran? 

One Iranian minister has hinted that the government is in dialogue with the likes of Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. It could also be talking to executives from the immensely popular Telegram app, which even has a server based in the country. 

The solution, of course, will be to create an app that is freely available to use in the Islamic Republic: Twatter. 

It’s going to be easier than restricting what apps can and can’t do — the Iranian government must stick to its guns. East Germans had one car, the Trabant. This authoritarian regime needs one app: the Twatter. 

It recognizes photographs of women showing their hair and despatches the heavies around in the morning with warnings to cover up or risk being twatted. 

The security services in Iran could recruit with the ease of Uber Eats and Deliveroo, responding to Twat alerts, using a moped to invade parties — the app will cleverly identify illicit bottles using smart GPS technology — and confiscating smart phones (hell enough for any youth in the West) and then the even smarter owners of those phones.

With all servers controlled by the government, the security agencies and their street mafia offshoots will be able to hone in on demand for particular drinks and drugs apartment by apartment, house by house. They can start their own unofficial delivery service of the very products they will later arrest young people for using.

Day one: “This guy likes Johnny Walker Black Label, this girl wants crystal meth.”

Day two: “What was Johnny Walker doing in your house? Are you a homosexual?” (THAT’s how bad they are.)

Twatter can also crack down on the Islamic Republic’s favorite target, young people’s expressions of sexuality. Allowing users to barcode each other on strips of road where girls and boys exchange numbers as their cars pass each other, the state can make the process easier and get details on who’s dating who, simply by keeping up the illusion of the integrity of encryption. 

It will compromise photographs galore, allowing the state to enter into homes and bedrooms — sometimes right in between the sheets! — to check that Dear Islam is being observed.

Twatter will also serve to lure the worst enemy of the Islamic Republic and the very reason it wants to curb people’s access to media: ideas. 

YouTube, Instagram and Twitter must understand that all ideas were forbidden by Ayatollah Khomeini, except his own. 

Ideas are anti-revolutionary. So any app must be able to seize ideas with ruthlessness. For this, the state will need the help of Airbnb. Anyone who has used Airbnb will know the efficiency with which its software can detect the use of banned words such as “Sod this, let’s chat on Facebook.” 

Mysteriously, the word Facebook will not appear. The app is so clever that even if you write “FB” or “That very popular website centered around people posting pictures of themselves living the good life” it is likely to spot it. 

The tech revolution and the Shia Islamic revolution are ideal bedfellows — well, not so much of the fellows. 

This way Instagram, Twitter and Facebook can help the Islamic Republic. It needn’t be a case of Google helping China by accepting its censorship. That goes the against any notion of cool and what’s a tech company when cool goes? 

But these companies can collude — oh, collaborate is much better word — with the Tehran regime to further business interests. Because, as any government minister will tell you, that is all that matters. 

Iran is a country of old men governing a nation of millennials who will let their hair down, literally, in private. Twatter will be right there to help them with that. And, come to think about it, what about Uber Beats? Tehran would be the ideal place to pilot this new business idea....though not sure its possible new CEO Dara Dowlatshahi would be up for that.




Communists Tried to Stop the 1953 Coup — But it was “Too little, too late”

August 29, 2017
Arash Azizi
10 min read
Communists Tried to Stop the 1953 Coup — But it was “Too little, too late”