Iran has blocked access to Instagram and WhatsApp as its government tries to quell protests that began last week following the death of a woman at the hands of local authorities. As of Wednesday, demonstrations across the country had been ongoing for four consecutive days. The protests began over the weekend after a 22-year-old died in the custody of Iran’s morality police on September 16. She was arrested for allegedly violating the country’s strict dress code for women.
According to (via ), the Iranian government has gradually restricted access to the web in much of the country in recent days. The blackout began in Tehran and other parts of Iran when the first protests broke out on Friday. On the afternoon of September 19, the government extended the restrictions to parts of the western province of Kurdistan. As of Wednesday, it was impossible to access WhatsApp and Instagram through any of the country’s major internet providers. According to NetBlocks, the current restrictions are the most severe since 2019, when Iran responded to fuel protests.
Meta did not immediately respond to Engadget’s request for comment. NetBlocks suggests that the outages are likely to significantly limit the ability of the Iranian people to communicate freely. In theory, Iran’s government may believe that restricting Internet access will reduce the likelihood of protesters organizing and allow it to better control the narrative of Amini’s death.
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