Mark Zuckerberg has reportedly been ordered to appear in an Iranian court to testify about users who have apparently complained about Facebook applications Instagram and WhatsApp, and their privacy rights.
The news was reported by ISNA, which, according to CNBC, is a “semiofficial news agency.” ISNA quoted an official with the paramilitary Basij force, saying the judge in the case has also ordered both apps blocked in the area. If the news is true, Zuckerberg is likely not going to make the trip, and can’t be forced to because there is no extradition treaty between the U.S. and Iran.
A different court had ruled Instagram to be blocked last week over privacy concerns, but users in Tehran could reportedly still use the app as of Monday, May 27. The blockage of the apps is added to the growing list of banned sites in the country, which already include Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. CNBC reports that top officials in the country are still allowed to use the sites, and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is still very active on Twitter.
President Hassan Rouhani and his administration use social media to help get news out to Iranians and for foreign news efforts, and has said he is opposed to blocking the sites until the country can create local alternatives.
“We should see the cyber world as an opportunity,” Rouhani said last week, according to the official IRNA news service. “Why are we so shaky? Why don’t we trust our youth?”
Mark Zuckerberg, who was named Time‘s Person of the Year back in 2010, has not yet commented on the possible summons, or whether he would consider flying to Iran to testify in court.