NetBlocks says the outage is the ‘severe’ since the internet was blocked during fuel protests in 2019.
Iran has restricted access to social media networks Instagram and WhatsApp amid protests over the death of a woman in police custody, according to residents and online monitor NetBlocks.
Major internet outages were also reported across the country, with one of the largest mobile operators down, leaving millions of Iranians offline.
The death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was arrested by morality police in Tehran last week for “inappropriate clothing”, has sparked outrage over issues including freedom in the Islamic Republic and the economy reeling from sanctions.
So far at least six protesters have been killed, according to Iranian media and officials, as well as a police officer and a member of a pro-government militia. However, activist groups say the death toll is higher.
NetBlocks also reported a “country loss of connectivity” on the major mobile phone provider in Iran and another company’s network.
London-based NetBlocks said WhatsApp servers were down on several internet providers, hours after they blocked Instagram services.
The group’s data shows a near-total disruption of internet service in parts of Iran’s western Kurdistan region since Monday, while the capital, Tehran, and other parts of the country have also faced turmoil since Friday, when protests first erupted.
⚠️ # Iran It is now subject to the strictest internet restrictions since the November 2019 massacre.
▶️ Mobile networks are largely closed (MCI, Rightel, Irancell – partial)
▶️ Regional disturbances observed during protests
▶ ️ Instagram and WhatsApp are restricted
– netblocks September 21 2022
Two residents of Tehran and southern Iran said they can only send text messages and not photos on WhatsApp and that Instagram appears to be completely blocked.
Both platforms are owned by Meta, the parent company of Facebook, and are among the few social media networks still operating. NetBlocks said the unrest was the “most serious” since 2019 when the government shut down the internet for nearly a week to help stifle fuel protests.
Without internet access, it is difficult for people to post videos on social media to generate support for their cause or get reliable reports on what is happening.
This month, unrest intensified particularly in Amini’s home province of northwestern Kurdistan.
22-year-old Amini lived in Saqqaz, Kurdistan, and was in Tehran when she was detained for what she considered Iran’s ‘morality police’ ‘indecent dress’, in violation of Iran’s mandatory modest dress code, which was imposed after a while. Brief of the Islamic Revolution. in 1979.
Authorities say she suffered a stroke and heart attack while at an “extension center” and was taken to a nearby hospital, where she died several days later.
Amini’s family denied the allegations of the Tehran police chief that she suffers from several conditions such as epilepsy and diabetes.
Social media sites 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 often use VPNs to bypass restrictions.