HomeWorldAs unrest grows, Iran restricts access to Instagram and WhatsAppSEDI News

As unrest grows, Iran restricts access to Instagram and WhatsAppSEDI News

As unrest grows, Iran bans Instagram and access WhatsApp. Iran on Wednesday restricted access to the Meta platforms Instagram and WhatsApp, the country’s two last remaining social networks, amid protests over the death of a woman in police custody.

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The death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was arrested by morality police in Tehran last week for “improper dress”, has sparked anger in the Islamic Republic over issues including freedoms and an economy suffering from sanctions.

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

Hours after blocking Instagram’s services, WhatsApp’s servers across multiple internet providers were disrupted, London-based NetBlock said.

Read more: WhatsApp to introduce two new features

Data from the group showed an almost complete 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 faced disruptions since Friday, when the first protests broke out.

Two residents of Tehran and southern Iran said they could only send texts and not pictures on WhatsApp and that Instagram appeared to be completely blocked.

Iran has often restricted Internet access to make it difficult for protesters to post videos on social media to garner support and to receive reliable reports on the extent of the unrest.

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

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

Iran’s communications minister said earlier Wednesday that he had been misquoted after 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 curbs by using virtual private networks (VPNs).

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