Instagram account with nearly 500,000 subscribers posing as the Farsi page of the US state media Voice of America, was deleted Tuesday January 7 after being spotted by journalists from the Associated Press news agency .
The account usurped the logo and the presentation of the official accounts of Voice of America, an international news agency fully funded by the United States government. Launched during the Second World War, Voice of America broadcasts content in 47 languages, including Farsi.
On Monday January 6, the account posted a message claiming that the daughter of General Soleimani, killed a few days earlier by an American strike in Baghdad, was an American citizen. This post, denied by the Iranian media, had received more than 10,000 comments in a few hours, and was widely reported on social networks.
Censorship and profanity
The @VOA_Persian Instagram account had many more subscribers than the average of official Voice of America Instagram accounts, suggesting that some of its “followers” may have been purchased. The American agency is much more present on Facebook, where its page in Farsi has more than two million subscribers.
Iran very widely censors Internet access; Facebook has been blocked there for several years, but Instagram is accessible, even if temporary cuts have taken place in recent months. In October, an Iranian influencer was arrested for “Blasphemy” for posting pictures of her disguised as a zombie on the social network.