ANALYSIS: Unveiling Iranian pro-government trolls and cyber-warriors

Lately, many media outlets write about “Kremlin Troll factory”. But, we should remember that these methods are used not only by the Russian authorities.

Many different countries with regimes of varying degrees of oppressiveness use internet-trolls and many other methods related to internet-trolling, manipulation of public opinion and spreading disinformation. One of those countries, which use the advantage of internet-trolls, is Iran.

It is noteworthy that the Iranian army of trolls differs from the Russian by its specificity, working methods and its scope of activity. In scope, funding and effectiveness Iranians are far behind their Russian counterparts. But, they don’t stand still and we can see the increase in the activity of Iranian pro-government trolls from year to year.

In this regard, it would be useful to consider the issue of internet-freedom in the country, I guess. According to Freedom House Report 2016, the number of Iranians who have access to the internet is 44 percent of the country’s population. Of course, this number has changed a little during the year. Anyway, it is a large number of people, tens of millions!

Such social networks as Facebook & Twitter, Youtube video-service, Viber messenger and many other services and websites are blocked in Iran. In spite of the fact that Facebook and Twitter are blocked in the country, the country’s leaders feel free to enjoy these services, using it as a tool for propaganda of their regime. Other Iranians need to use VPN to access blocked websites and services.

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January 17, 2018, “Al Arabiya”