Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Iranians had Social Media Access due to Glitch

Monday evening, Iranians had a few hours of access to their Facebook and Twitter accounts due to a technical glitch in the system.  This was the first time in four years Iranians were able to get into their social media accounts because the government has put a ban on them from protests of the Islamic revolution.
This was the first time they gained access to their accounts without having to get around a firewall, put on by the government.


Speculation of the eased censorship points toward President Hassan Rouhani, who succeeded Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last month.  The re-election in 2009 sparked demonstrations, which social media played a large part of.

Although, access has been blocked again, Abdolsamad Khoramabadi, secretary of a state committee, said technical difficulties with Iranian Internet service providers (ISP) had allowed access most likely caused by a technical malfunction caused the problem.

Service providers are being investigated.

Officials, including Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarid, have created Facebook and Twitter profiles, hoping the sites would be soon unblocked for them to access.

Many Iranians use proxy servers to trick the system into believing they live elsewhwere to access the social media sites.

Arash Tajik, an IT administrator in Tehran, said he thought the blip, which meant he could get into his Facebook without a proxy server at his office Monday, was a test.  Because on Tuesday when he tried to access it from home, no longer worked.

Signs of Change

President Rouhani, has pledged to relax political and social media restrictions in Iran has not claimed responsibility.

The lift could have also been a trend in diplomacy, noting Forign Minister Javad Zairf tweeted “I had a very constructive meet in Bishkek with Chinese Foreign Minister, followed by an excellent hour-long meet between the two presidents.”


International executives at Facebook and Twitter had no comment on the development.
One Iran expert based abroad said controls had briefly been removed not only with Twitter and Facebook but for other sites including pornographic ones.  This is due to a SSL Web security tool.

Amin Sabeti, a British-based expert on the Internet in Iran stated, “Iran has invested millions of dollars for its filtering system and it is clear that the regime will not give up Internet censorship very easily.”

Other signs of  relaxed social controls is Mohammad Javad Zarif, and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei,  using their Facebook and Twitter profiles to engage users and publicize ideas.

Some are still speculating it is an experiment for the U.S. to use the social media sites, like Google uses technology, to block certain kinds of activity.

Arash Tajik, an IT administrator in Tehran, said he believed this was done by authorities, that they are testing the situation to see what happens and if they can control the situation or not.

Do you think the block should be taken off  the Iranians?  Please share your thoughts below.

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‘Glitch’ gave Iran social media access – Aljazeera
September 17, 2013
Iran ends brief social media access, calls it glitch – Yahoo News
September 17, 2013

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