Iran restricts WhatsApp and Instagram as Mahsa Amini protests grow | Social Media News
NetBlocks says the outage is the “worst” since the internet was blocked during the 2019 fuel protests.
Iran has restricted access to social media Instagram and WhatsApp amid protests over the death of a woman in police custody, according to locals and internet watchdog NetBlocks.
Major internet blackouts have also been reported across the country, with one of the biggest mobile phone operators shut down, leaving millions of Iranians offline.
The death last week of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was arrested by vice police in Tehran for “inappropriate dress”, sparked a wave of anger over issues including freedom in the Islamic Republic and an economy under the shock of the sanctions.
At least six protesters have now been killed, according to Iranian media and officials, along with a policeman and a member of a pro-government militia. However, activist groups say the death toll is higher.
NetBlocks also reported a “nationwide loss of connectivity” on Iran’s main mobile operator and another company’s network.
WhatsApp’s servers were down across several internet service providers, hours after Instagram’s services were blocked, London-based NetBlocks said.
Data from the group shows a near total disruption of internet service in parts of western Iran’s Kurdistan province since Monday, while the capital, Tehran, and other parts of the country have also been disrupted since Friday, when the first demonstrations broke out.
⚠️ #Iran is now under the toughest internet restrictions since the November 2019 massacre.
▶️ Largely closed mobile networks (MCI, Rightel, Irancell – partial)
▶️ Regional disruptions observed during protests
▶️ Instagram, restricted WhatsApphttps://t.co/8cCHIJA2Oi
— NetBlocks (@netblocks) September 21, 2022
Two residents of Tehran and southern Iran said they could only send text and not photos on WhatsApp and Instagram seemed completely blocked.
Both platforms are owned by Meta, Facebook’s parent company, and are among the few social networks still in operation. NetBlocks said the disruptions were the “worst” since 2019, when the government shut down the internet for about a week to help quell fuel protests.
Without internet access, it’s harder for people to post videos on social media to generate support for their cause or get reliable reports of what’s going on.
The unrest this month has been particularly intense in Amini’s home province in northwestern Kurdistan.
Amini, 22, lived in Saqqez, Kurdistan, and was in Tehran when she was arrested for what Iran’s ‘morality police’ consider to be ‘immodest clothing’, violating mandatory modest dress rules of Iran, which were imposed shortly after the Islamic revolution. in 1979.
Authorities say she suffered a stroke and heart attack while at a “guidance centre” and was transferred to a nearby hospital, where she died days later.
Amini’s family denied claims by Tehran’s police chief that she suffered from several pre-existing conditions like epilepsy and diabetes.
Social media websites such as TikTok, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook are routinely blocked in parts of the Islamic Republic, which enforces some of the toughest internet controls in the world. But tech-savvy residents often use virtual private networks (VPNs) to bypass borders.