Why Are Iranian Youths Posting Their ID Pictures on Instagram?

A great number of Iranian youngsters have been using Instagram in order to reaffirm their identities. They have started posting pictures of themselves, chosen by themselves, together with pictures used for IDs, but why?

Two popular Instagram accounts have asked Iranians to post both pictures under the hashtags #KartMeliChallenge and #KarteMeliChallenge (“National ID Challenge”). There’s a simple reason for that. IDs in Iran, where people have to appear expressionless and which are in black and white, are completely different from the pictures young people choose to upload on Instagram – there they can be fun, show colorful attires, they can show themselves as they see themselves.

ID vs Instagram picture. The difference is evident ID vs Instagram picture. The difference is evident

Since the challenge started, nearly 500 pictures have been uploaded, which is a record in a country where publishing private photos on an Internet site can be seen as a crime. The account Don’t Judge Challenge (@DontJudgeChallengeTM) has gathered nearly 700 pictures of youngsters who are unhappy with the way their government treats their people.

In Iran, ID officers are instructed to give a series of instructions to people when they are taking their ID pictures – men must wear no hats, glasses, ties, or jewelry, they must have a certain hairstyle, they must show their forehead and ears and must wear clothes different in color from the background of the place where the picture is taken. Women, on the other hand, must be fully clothed, wearing a hijab or a dark-colored shall over their heads, and they must wear no make-up or jewelry either.

The comments on these pictures normally refer to the fact that it seems as if youngsters underwent aesthetic surgery in order that there be such a great change between one picture and another. Since 1979, showing your real identity in Iran is considered mostly dangerous.


365 Shields Drive. Bennington, VT 05201. USA


This blog has been developed to help all those interested in spreading their brand via social networks like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc.