As unrest grows, Iran restricts access to Instagram, WhatsApp

An Iranian woman based in Turkey points to an old Iranian royal flag during a protest after the death of Mehsa Amini outside the Iranian consulate on September 21, 2022 in Istanbul, Turkey. – Reuters
  • Demonstrations against morality police in Iran
  • Iran blocked access to the meta platforms Instagram and WhatsApp.
  • NetBlocks also reported a “nationwide loss of connectivity”.

Iran on Wednesday blocked access to the meta platforms Instagram and WhatsApp, two of the country’s last remaining social networks. Protest over the woman’s death In police custody, residents and internet watchdog NetBlocks said.

Last week, the death of 22-year-old Mehsa Amini, who was arrested. The ethics police There has been anger in Tehran over “improper dress”, among other issues. Freedom in the Islamic Republic and an economy plagued by sanctions.

NetBlocks also reported a “nation-wide loss of connectivity” on the networks of Iran’s main mobile telephone provider and another company.

London-based NetBlocks said WhatsApp’s servers across multiple internet providers were down hours after Instagram’s services were blocked.

Internet service has been almost completely disrupted in parts of western Iran’s Kurdistan province since Monday, while in the capital Tehran and other parts of the country since Friday, when protests first began, the group’s data showed. If so, it has been disrupted.

Two residents of Tehran and southern Iran said they could only send text and not pictures on WhatsApp, and Instagram seemed to be completely blocked.

Iran has often blocked access to the internet, making it difficult for protesters to post videos on social media to drum up support and to get reliable reports on the extent of the unrest.

In 2019, the government shut down the internet for about a week to help fuel protests that turned politicized, sparking the deadliest crackdown in the Islamic Republic’s 40-year history.

Protests have been particularly intense in Kurdistan, where Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have a history of suppressing unrest.

Iran’s communications minister said on Wednesday that he had been misquoted when news outlets quoted him as saying authorities could disrupt internet services for security reasons.

Social media websites such as TikTok, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook are routinely blocked in parts of the Islamic Republic, which has some of the strictest internet controls in the world. But tech-savvy residents bypass the restrictions by using virtual private networks (VPNs).

Meta and Iran’s foreign ministry did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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