October 3, 2022
WhatsApp working to keep Iranians connected amid widespread internet shutdown amid nationwide protests

Meta platforms WhatsApp said on Thursday it was working to keep users engaged in Iran after access to the app and social media platform Instagram was banned in the country.

The messaging service said in a tweet that WhatsApp would “do anything within its technical capability” to keep the service accessible and that it was not blocking Iranian phone numbers.

Iran on Wednesday restricted access to Instagram and WhatsApp, two of the country’s last remaining social networks, amid protests over the death of a woman in police custody, according to residents and internet watchdog Netblox.

Last week the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was arrested by ethics police in Tehran for “inappropriate dress”, has sparked anger over issues including freedom in the Islamic republic and the economy battling sanctions.

Protesters in Tehran and other Iranian cities torched police stations and vehicles earlier on Thursday as public outrage over the deaths showed no sign of abating, with reports of security forces attacking.

On Thursday, the Associated Press reported that the country had experienced an almost complete Internet blackout on Wednesday, the fifth day of protests against the government over Amini’s death, after she was found in violation of the strictly enforced dress by the country’s ethics police. was organized to code.

Earlier, a government official indicated that measures could be taken to restrict Internet access out of security concerns. As mentioned earlier, Instagram and WhatsApp were the last major social media networks to operate in Iran.

The country currently blocks Facebook, Telegram, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and WhatsApp. However, top Iranian officials have access to public accounts on these platforms, while Iranians are able to access these services using virtual private networks and proxies, according to the report.

© Thomson Reuters 2022

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