This Happened

STAND DOWN: Iran’s ‘Clean Internet’ Rumor Started With a Hoax

Rule of thumb: If it's crazy and it's on the Internet, it's likely a hoax.
Nineties Leftover,  Shoosh-Tehran

Nineties Leftover, Tehran (Flickr.com/kamshots)

You guys, didn’t anyone tell Iran we’re not doing Internet April Fools Day anymore? Apparently not, because a fake interview with the country’s communications minister has everyone convinced they’re straight-up banning the internet.

An International Business Times piece is currently racing around the internet, giving everyone the impression that Iran is permanently pulling the plug sometime in August. From the article:

In a statement released Thursday, Reza Taghipour, the Iranian minister for Information and Communications Technology, announced the setting up of a national Intranet and the effective blockage of services like Google, Gmail, Google Plus, Yahoo and Hotmail, in line with Iran’s plan for a “clean Internet.”

Now, IBT wasn’t exactly pulling this out of thin air, as Iran does have plans for some sort of closed “national information network,” and they’ve already got a history of nationwide disruptions. But details are still scarce and the Iranian government now denies these reports, claiming the interview is fake, says the AFP:

The reports derived from a supposed interview with Communications Minister Reza Taghipour published on April 1 that was in fact a hoax, the ministry said in the statement on its own site www.ict.gov.ir — which itself was not accessible outside of Iran.

The statement alleges the report serves “the propaganda wing of the West and providing its hostile media with a pretext emanating from a baseless claim.”

Frankly, this leaves us with even more questions. Who’s responsible for the hoax? Is Iran going to pull the plug once they do implement their national intranet? And whatever happened to faking out friends and family with a fictional engagement?

Follow Kelly Faircloth on Twitter or via RSS. kfaircloth@observer.com