Civil Unrest in Iraq Results in Social Media Blocks and Internet Shutdown

  • The Iraqi government is under enormous pressure from numerous protests that were organized over the internet.
  • The regime has now blocked internet access throughout most of the country, but people are using mobile apps to circumvent blocks.
  • The situation is simmering as the social and political problems remain unresolved for years now.

As reported by NetBlocks, the Iraqi government is interfering with the internet access of its citizens, amid events of civil unrest. The blocks affect Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Instagram, and various other social media platforms and messaging apps. The blocks are widespread and imposed by multiple ISPs (Earthlink, Asiacell, Zain), while they have started taking effect since 12:30 UTC, yesterday. At 17:00 UTC, the government ordered the complete blocking of internet access across the majority of the country, leaving about 1/3 of Iraqi citizens “in the dark”. At 19:30 UTC, the internet blackout spread further, raising the percentage of people with no internet access to approximately 75%.

This is a blatant violation of people’s right to access information, right to free speech, and ability to communicate with others. This, however, is only a side effect of a much more severe situation that is taking place on the streets. In Baghdad, a reported crowd of 3000 protesters gathered to express their anger with the government corruption, the degraded public services, and the raging unemployment. The police opened fire against the crowd, wounding hundreds and also killing at least nine protesters so far.

According to citizen reports from Iraq, encrypted messaging apps that are used by protest organizers like Signal, Telegram, and ProtonMail, have been interrupted by the blockages too. However, accessing via mobile phones is still possible due to the circumvention measures that have been introduced in the latest versions of these apps. Still, the internet blackout is extensive right now, with Baghdad being one of the places that are blocked from all access. On the contrary, independent Kurdish zones and various cities in the north have remained unaffected by the blocks, as they are served by a different infrastructure that is not under the control of the government.

The situation is not likely to de-escalate any time soon, so we expect the internet blocks in Iraq to stay strong in the following days. The Tahrir Square in the capital is currently sealed off, and curfews have been imposed in the southern cities of Nasiriya, Amara, and Hilla. The government wasn’t expecting the rallies to be of this size, and it is notable that they were mostly organized through social media. That said, it is no wonder why social media platforms were the first to get blocked in Iraq.

What do you predict about Iraq and the fate of the current regime? Let us know of your opinion in the comments down below, or on our socials, on Facebook and Twitter.

Latest
How to Watch Love Island Australia Season 4 (2022) Online From Anywhere
One of the hottest reality TV shows is returning with a brand new season, and we're excited to watch all the episodes...
How to Watch Who Killed Jenni Rivera? Online: Stream the Mysterious Death Documentary From Anywhere
Who Killed Jenni Rivera? is a new documentary series that pays tribute to the life of the award-winning Latin sensation and also investigates...
How to Watch World Cup 2022 Online: Live Stream Soccer Matches for Free from Anywhere
Fans were treated to more enthralling action at the 2022 FIFA World Cup on Monday as Croatia needed a penalty shootout to...
For a better user experience we recommend using a more modern browser. We support the latest version of the following browsers: For a better user experience we recommend using the latest version of the following browsers: Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Safari