Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been summoned to an Iranian court by a judge. There are a number of concerns from individuals that two of the apps owned by the company, Whatsapp and Instagram, violate the privacy of individuals. The two apps have also been blocked in the country due to the concerns over privacy.
It is unlikely that Zuckerberg will make the journey to Iran. There is currently no extradition treaty between the country and the USA, so there is no way that the summons can be enforced. Courts in Iran have tried to do the same thing to others for different reasons over the years, and nobody has attended to answer the claims.
The social networking site is already banned by the country, and it stated that Instagram had been blocked. However, it was possible to access the app in Tehran on Tuesday. Other websites like YouTube and Twitter are also banned within the country on both the desktop and mobile devices. Proxy servers are commonly used to get around the bannings, and a number of senior leaders use some of the sites.
President Hassan Rouhani is against the decision to block the sites. He believes that the youth should be trusted, and it is taking away an excellent way to communicate with people in the west. However, those in favor of the ban state that it is so Iran does not adopt the Western culture. Rouhani wants more freedom online for the people.
Iran is not the only country concerned with privacy on Facebook, but it is the only country to summon the CEO Zuckerberg to court so far. The social media giant has recently listened to people by scaling back the move to make people share more publically. A recent change sees new users automatically having their posts set to friends only, and will be informed that this can be changed to public at any time.
However, Facebook has been criticized for setting up the “ask” feature. Those who have not included all the information on their profile, such as their employment and relationship status, will now have an “ask” button. Friends—and only friends—on the site can ask users for that information. That is then either ignored, sent as a private message or added to the information for only that person to see. While there is a sense of privacy, it is still a move to encourage people to share more information online. There is no way for users to opt out of this “ask” feature.
Zuckerberg is being told by the Iranian court that he must attended, or at least send a legal representative. He can then give answers to the concerns, and pay for any damages occurred due to the breaches of privacy. Even if the CEO wanted to defend himself, it would be unwise. It is very difficult for people in the USA to secure travel visas to this country due to the relationship between Iran and America. However, that has not stopped the Iranian court from summoning the Facebook CEO.
By Alexandria Ingham