Authorities in Iran have effectively eliminated all access to the internet and tightened access to Instagram and WhatsApp after videos of violent clashes between protestors and police went viral online.
Meta’s Instagram and WhatsApp, which were the last social media platforms standing, suffered disruption on multiple internet providers as citizens vented their fury over the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini at the hands of the policy with large scale protests.
London-based internet watchdog NetBlocks reported “nation-scale loss of connectivity” on Iran’s main mobile telephone provider and along with another company’s network.
The protests started last week after the country’s Guidance Patrol, who are the morality police in charge of overseeing the public implementation of the hijab, arrested Amini in Tehran for “unsuitable attire.”
Amini died in custody a few days later. Police said her death was the result of a heart attack, however images circulated showing evidence that she had been beaten.
Despite Iran having some of the strictest internet controls in the world, with TikTok, Youtube, Twitter, and Facebook all prohibited, this didn’t stop #MahsaAmini from trending on Twitter.
Millions of images of protestors damaging symbols of the Islamic Republic along with women burning their veils and cutting their hair made their way online, which prompted Iranian authorities to take drastic measures by eliminating access to the internet.
Iranians can now only communicate with one another by phone, WhatsApp, but without any photos and blocked websites, which only those with a VPN are privy to, which 80% of Iranians have, according to RadioFreeEurope.
The last time the Iranian government took similar action by removing internet access was in 2019. During that time, Iran saw protests across more than 20 cities with the point of contention being a 50% to 200% surge in fuel prices. After those protests began, internet connection in the Iran was shut down for six days straight, NetBlock reports.
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: WIRED.COM
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