Censorship, trolls, and bots: The information war distorting Iran’s protests.

By Jonathan Guyer, Vox

Protesters in Iran have been resisting the government there for over two months, in response to the death of the young woman Mahsa Amini in police custody. Since September, more than 18,000 Iranians have been arrested, among them at least 70 journalists. Close to 500 protesters have been killed.

protests for people of Iran and womens freedom

But at times, it’s been difficult for news outlets and newsmakers to convey the complete picture of the emerging protest movement and its aftershocks.

Last weekend, US newspapers sent news alerts about Iran abolishing its so-called morality police, the authority that had arrested Amini in September. But that wasn’t the full story, and US outlets quickly reframed what was initially a definitive news article. Iran’s state media said comments from Iran’s attorney general had been misinterpreted. It was more of a sign of the stress that the regime is under, perhaps, than a policy change.

This comes after a false report circulated in mid-November that Iran would execute 15,000 of the protesters. It was later debunked, but not until after it became a meme shared by influential posters. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau even tweeted it out.

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