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Iran reportedly orders 'Zionist' Zuckerburg to appear in court

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Officials complain about privacy issues amid conflicting reports

An Iranian court has opened a case against Instagram and WhatsApp over alleged privacy breaches, and it's summoning Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg for questioning, reports Reuters. The cases were reportedly brought after the court received complaints from citizens about both apps, though it's unclear what the specific problem is. As his company owns both Instagram and WhatsApp, Zuckerberg is being summoned to defend the claims and potentially pay for damages — though it's quite unlikely that he'll show.

Shiraz Chief Prosecutor Ali Alghasimehr denied the Reuters report on Wednesday, telling the country's IRNA news agency that Zuckerberg has not been summoned, and that both Instagram and WhatsApp remain accessible within Iran. The Associated Press confirmed that both services were functioning within the country as of Wednesday.

"According to the court's ruling, the Zionist director of the company of Facebook, or his official attorney must appear in court to defend himself and pay for possible losses," an Iranian internet official reportedly said. Reuters says that the case is exemplary of the ongoing struggle for internet freedoms in Iran. Iranian president Hassan Rouhani wants to expand web access, but courts have reportedly remained conservative and are still pushing for stricter control.

This article has been updated to include the denial from Iranian prosecutor Ali Alghasimehr.