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Torn down by protests, Iran restricts access to social media apps

Protests hit major Iranian cities

Iran restricted access to several social media apps Sunday and warned that anti-government protesters who cause public disorder will "pay the price" after three days of demonstrations across the country, CNN reported.

Instagram and Telegram have been temporarily "restricted" in order to ensure calm and security, state-run media outlet IRIB reported Sunday.

Social media has been vital resource for Iranians participating in the protests -- described as the largest public display of discontent since the 2009 Green Movement in Iran.

While independent media coverage from inside the country has been limited, protesters have used apps like Telegram, which offers public channels for users in addition to encrypted messaging, to share information and videos of protests and clashes. Official media outlets have provided few details about the protests.

Telegram's CEO tweeted that Iranian authorities had blocked access to Telegram for "the majority of Iranians" after the company refused to shut down peaceful protesting channels.

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