Iran

Iran's President Urges Cabinet to Join Facebook

Authorities in country still very censorious about social media

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Iran's curious world of online politics looked a bit more crowded Monday with members of President Hasan Rouhani's Cabinet encouraged to open their own Facebook pages — in a country where authorities, at the same time, try to block the public from social media.

The government-as-Facebook Friends initiative, reported by the pro-reform Shargh daily, is seen as part of Rouhani's efforts to give the presidency a makeover as more accountable and accessible after his combative predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

But it further exposes the internal tensions among Iran's leadership over whether the Internet is ultimately a force to be expanded or best kept tightly controlled. Disputes even broke out — on Web-based Iranian news sites — over the authenticity of some of the Facebook pages linked to some ministers.

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