TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Before Iranians can check out the latest offerings on Twitter or YouTube, they must scroll through an array of icons on their smartphones, searching for the best workaround to bypass official censors.
It’s a cat-and-mouse game that has become second nature in Iran, where the clerically-led government restricts access to popular social media sites and where U.S. sanctions create other barriers.
Despite the limitations — or perhaps because of them — Iranians have become skilled at evading censors through proxy servers and virtual private networks, or VPNs.
Software developer Mehdi Beygi said he recently received an email from a popular coding platform saying that his account had been restricted because of U.S. sanctions.
“It’s normal,” he said. “I’ll bypass the ban, as always.”