In Iraq Twitter, Facebook, Google and YouTube inaccessible in the midst of conflict

Websites and social media are reportedly inaccessable as violence escalates

Topics: Twitter, Facebook, Iraq, YouTube, Social Media, collapse, Insurgents, , ,

In Iraq Twitter, Facebook, Google and YouTube inaccessible in the midst of conflict

The situation in Iraq looks dire: Militants from the insurgent group, Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis), have taken over portions of the country. Also, according to the New York Times, the top Shi’ite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, has put out a call to “fill the gaps within the security forces.” This, as the Times pointed out, “risked plunging Iraq further into the pattern of sectarian bloodletting between Sunnis and Shiites that convulsed the country during the height of the American occupation.”

Amidst this escalating violence, come reports that on Friday certain websites and social media were inaccessible, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google.

According to Mashable:

Cyber Arabs, an organization based in Lebanon that monitors Internet freedom and provides cybersecurity training in the Middle-East and North Africa, confirmed to Mashable that Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are all blocked inside Iraq.”

A Facebook spokesperson told VentureBeat:

“We are disturbed by reports of access issues in Iraq and are investigating. Limiting access to Internet services — essential for communication and commerce for millions of people — is a matter of concern for the global community.”

Twitter told Mashable it was looking into the report, and YouTube stated to VentureBeat: “We’re seeing reports that some users are not able to access YouTube in Iraq. There is no technical issue on our side and we’re looking into the situation.”

The International Business Times is reporting that the besieged Iraqi government has blocked these websites out of fear that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant is using them to organize. The Kuwaiti News Agency is also reporting that the Iraqi government is behind the inaccessibility.



It is not known if it is a widespread outage, or just one only affecting certain areas. It is also unsure what this means for Iraqi citizens and their ability to connect during this time of upheaval. Cyber Arabs speculated that this will force Iraqis to use insecure methods to communicate, according to Mashable.

The insurgents captured Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, and according to the Times, have their sights set on Baghdad. President Obama has ruled out sending ground troops back into Iraq, and has stated that he will have a decision “in the days ahead” about using U.S. Military in the region.

Updates will be made as they become available.

h/t Mashable, VentureBeat, International Business Times, New York Times

Sarah Gray is an assistant editor at Salon, focusing on innovation. Follow @sarahhhgray or email sgray@salon.com.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Burger King Japan

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Burger King's black cheeseburger: Made with squid ink and bamboo charcoal, arguably a symbol of meat's destructive effect on the planet. Only available in Japan.

    Elite Daily/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    McDonald's Black Burger: Because the laws of competition say that once Burger King introduces a black cheeseburger, it's only a matter of time before McDonald's follows suit. You still don't have to eat it.

    Domino's

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Domino's Specialty Chicken: It's like regular pizza, except instead of a crust, there's fried chicken. The company's marketing officer calls it "one of the most creative, innovative menu items we have ever had” -- brain power put to good use.

    Arby's/Facebook

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Arby's Meat Mountain: The viral off-menu product containing eight different types of meat that, on second read, was probably engineered by Arby's all along. Horrific, regardless.

    KFC

    2014's fast food atrocities

    KFC'S ZINGER DOUBLE DOWN KING: A sandwich made by adding a burger patty to the infamous chicken-instead-of-buns creation can only be described using all caps. NO BUN ALL MEAT. Only available in South Korea.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Waffle Taco: It took two years for Taco Bell to develop this waffle folded in the shape of a taco, the stand-out star of its new breakfast menu.

    Michele Parente/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Krispy Kreme Triple Cheeseburger: Only attendees at the San Diego County Fair were given the opportunity to taste the official version of this donut-hamburger-heart attack combo. The rest of America has reasonable odds of not dropping dead tomorrow.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Quesarito: A burrito wrapped in a quesadilla inside an enigma. Quarantined to one store in Oklahoma City.

    Pizzagamechangers.com

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Boston Pizza's Pizza Cake: The people's choice winner of a Canadian pizza chain's contest whose real aim, we'd imagine, is to prove that there's no such thing as "too far." Currently in development.

    7-Eleven

    2014's fast food atrocities

    7-Eleven's Doritos Loaded: "For something decadent and artificial by design," wrote one impassioned reviewer, "it only tasted of the latter."

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

Loading Comments...