Huffpost Technology

Iran Ayatollah On Facebook Gets 'Liked,' But Is The Profile Legit?

Posted: Updated:
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei | AP

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — A Facebook page purportedly created by Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei attracted nearly 10,000 followers on Tuesday although the site's content and style raise serious questions about its authenticity.

Iranian authorities had no immediate comment on the site, which apparently went online last week but only recently gained prominence among social media watchers. Despite the possibility that it is a hoax, the page has generated at least 170 comments — laudatory and derogatory, and nearly all in Farsi — that highlight the deep political divisions in Iran and possibly opposition fervor from expatriate Iranians.

One post compared Khamenei to a celebrated ruler of ancient Persia, Cyrus the Great, who significantly expanded the Persian empire 2,500 years ago.

Another wrote: "Mr. Khamenei, how are you visiting this page? With proxy?"

It was a reference to Iran's blocking of Facebook and many other Western social media sites, and the efforts to bypass the restrictions using proxy server links from outside Iran.

The U.S. State Department said Monday it will keep tabs on the page, but had no comment on whether it was genuine or not. Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland joked that Washington is curious how many "likes" the Khamenei page receives.

But much about the page — including an informal photo of Khamenei riding in a car — suggested it was not sanctioned by Iran's top leader. It is also highly unlikely that Khamenei would endorse a banned outlet such as Facebook.

The Net is not unknown territory for Iranian leaders, however. Khamenei, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and others have official websites. Also, some senior Iranian clerics issue religious opinions by email.

Earlier on HuffPost:

How Internet Is Restricted Around The World
Share this
Current Slide

Suggest a correction

Around the Web

Iran's Ayatollah Khamenei 'likes' Facebook despite ban • The Register

Internet ayatollah: Iran's supreme leader likes Facebook | Reuters

Iran's Ayatollah Khamenei Lands on 'Zionist' Facebook - IBTimes UK

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei Joins Facebook - Livewire

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei Gets Nostalgic On ...

Iran's Ayatollah Khamenei 'likes' Facebook despite ban - Register ...

Internet ayatollah: Iran's supreme leader "likes" Facebook - Business ...

Iran's supreme ayatollah has ... a Facebook page?

Facebook gets a new fan - Iran's supreme leader: Ayatollah gets his own page ...

Iranian Princess Knows How To Win Facebook Friends And Influence Ayatollahs

Iran's Supreme Leader Wants to Be Your Facebook Friend

Ayatollah Khomeini's pro-democracy granddaughter: I fear arrest

The Associated Press: Iran leader gets the clicks with Facebook rumor

From Our Partners