Food Blogger Evades Iran's Censorship

A food critic who goes by the online pseudonym Mr. Taster recently spoke about getting around Iran's sophisticated Internet restrictions, as Mashable reports. At the 2012 Reykjavik Internet Marketing Conference, he discussed how he uses virtual private networks to use Facebook and other social media sites to create his brand. Despite the great lengths to which the Iranian goes to prevent social media usage, Mr. Taster has managed to garner more than 50,000 likes on his Facebook page and has managed to establish a strong following for his eponymous website. The site, which gives accounts of his travels and his gastronomic experiences around the world, is frequented by Iranians.

The story has caught the attention of tech media due to its unique breach of censorship for less political reasons that do not directly concern human rights issues. Said Mr. Taster of his Facebook activity, "I try to make the Facebook page fun and interactive. I post pictures and videos from restaurants I love and make the site a place that people want to keep visiting.” The Wall Street Journal calls this case of a netizen evading the censorship a surprising one, given that it is not the usual blogger-activist seeking to advance human rights. Rather, it's a story of evasion centered on travel and leisure and less on politics as the cause for circumvention. As Nick Clayton wrote, "It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that every Iranian finding a way round state censorship is selflessly advancing the cause of democracy."