Tehran, April 16: The use of foreign social media networks in schools has been banned in Iran by the Education Ministry on Sunday.
Schools must "only use domestic social networks" for their communication, the ministry said in a statement, according to the local media.
Telegram is the most popular social network in Iran. In 2017, the app claimed it had 40-million monthly users in the Islamic Republic. Instagram is also very popular, and companies in Iran - like elsewhere - often use both platforms to communicate directly with customers.
Less used, Facebook and Twitter are blocked in Iran, but easily accessible using a virtual private network (VPN). Several Iranian platforms offering services similar to Telegram have emerged in recent months, like the Soroush network, which already claims to have five million subscribers.
Telecommunication Minister Mohammad-Javad Azari Jahromi recently pledged Iranian networks would offer the same guarantees of confidentiality as foreign platforms.
"No message is read, and no (personal) information is communicated to anyone," he told parliament.
In a statement recently posted to his website, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the government should guarantee the "security and privacy" of people on the internet.
Iranian media has appeared to encourage people to join the new networks by assuring viewers they will continue to operate even if Telegram is again banned