A group of Facebook users has been arrested for the charge of “spreading corruption and degeneration of the Iranian lifestyle”

The Mehr News Agency reported on January 31 that the detainees were the chief figures in an active network and were identified in a project referred to as “ankaboot” (spider).

The head of the Revolutionary Guard’s Organized Crimes Department has taken responsibility for the arrests, saying its aim in launching Project Spider was to “challenge the safety of Western social networking sites that produce immoral, indecent and obscene content.”

They claim in their statement that they have succeeded in arresting a group of chief elements “active on the internet promoting the corruption and degeneration of the Iranian lifestyle”.

Iranian authorities had previously arrested another group for being active on Facebook, and reports indicate that all eight of them have been sentenced to heavy prison terms.

Iranian internet users are blocked from Facebook and can only access it through the use of proxies. The efforts of the current president to lift the ban have so far proved unsuccessful.