Iran restricts access to WhatsApp and Instagram in response to Mahsa Amini protests

Iran has blocked access to Instagram and WhatsApp as its government tries to quell protests that began last week after the death of a woman at the hands of local authorities. As of Wednesday, demonstrations across the country had been going on for four consecutive days. The protests began over the weekend after a 22-year-old died in Iran’s Morality Police custody on September 16. She was arrested for allegedly violating the country’s strict dress code for women.

Loud (via ), the Iranian government has gradually restricted internet access in large parts of the country in recent days. The blackout began in Tehran and other parts of Iran as protests first erupted on Friday. On the evening of September 19, the government extended the restrictions to parts of West Kurdistan Province. As of Wednesday, it was impossible to access WhatsApp and Instagram through any of the country’s major ISPs. According to NetBlocks, the current restrictions are the strictest since 2019, when Iran responded to fuel protests.

Meta did not immediately respond to Engadget’s request for comment. NetBlocks believes the disruptions are likely to significantly limit the Iranian people’s ability to communicate freely. In theory, the Iranian government could believe that restricting internet access would make protesters less likely to organize and allow it more control over the narrative of Amini’s death.

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