According to the Israeli news service Haaretz, an Iranian censor has banned WhatsApp because the chat service is now owned by an “American Zionist.”
That would be Mark Zuckerberg, whose company Facebook acquired WhatsApp in February for $16 billion in stock and cash, or $19 billion including additional stock incentives. Zuckerberg is Jewish, and American, although his views on Zionism are unknown.
It appears that the censor’s ban doesn’t have the full weight of law in Iran — or at least its validity is in dispute — as Iranian communications minister Mahmoud Mehr responded, “The government is completely against the ban on WhatsApp,” according to Haaretz.
That’s a pretty ironic statement to make on Twitter, given that Twitter — as well as Facebook and YouTube — has been banned in Iran since 2009.
In any case, even if WhatsApp won’t work in Iran, the messaging app should be just fine. It’s got 500 million active users, according to a company blog post from last month.
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