The death of a 22-year-old Iranian woman at the hands of the Iranian vice squad has sparked a wave of protests since Friday.
Authorities appear to be using a variety of means to crack down on protesters, from shutting down the internet to water cannons and tear gas. Local media also reported that more “temporary restrictions” on telecoms were planned.
Internet watchdog NetBlocks has now confirmed that even access to Instagram was filtered. This means that people in Iran will likely need software like a VPN to use any of the last social media platforms still available in the country.
⚠️ Update: Access to #Instagram, one of the last available social media platforms in #Iran, has been restricted due to protests over the death of #MahsaAmini; Live metrics show that frontend and CDN are now down for all major ISPs📰 Background: pic.twitter.com/8r1Tv3TanISeptember 21, 2022
What is happening in Iran?
As NetBlocks explains in its report (opens in new tab)the Instagram disconnects are just the authorities’ latest attempt to silence dissidents.
“NetBlocks network data confirms a near-total internet service disruption in parts of western Iran’s Kurdistan Province beginning in the evening of September 19, 2022.
“The regional telecommunications outage in and around Sanandaj follows a partial disruption in internet service in Tehran and other parts of the country on Friday, as protests first broke out. Access to Instagram was subsequently restricted nationwide on Wednesday, September 21.”
It all started after the news that a 22-year-old Iranian woman had died in the custody of Iran’s Morality Police in Tehran.
Originally from Saqqez in Kurdistan province, Mahsa Amini was in the Iranian capital to visit her brother when she was arrested on September 15 for allegedly breaking strict hijab rules. She died three days later after reportedly being fatally beaten.
Since then, masses of demonstrators have filled the streets demanding justice.
The demonstrations have spread from Tehran to at least 15 other cities across the country. Dozens of people were injured and at least six protesters are said to have been killed during the crackdown.
As mentioned above, further internet restrictions are very likely.
This has led to Iranian netizens calling on the international community to help them cover the events as they prepare to bypass these connection blocks.
On Twitter, for example, many users share their advice. Whether it’s choosing the best free VPN to bypass such content blocks, a secure browser like Tor, or encrypted messaging apps like Signal and WhatsApp.
https://www.techradar.com/news/iranian-authorities-restricts-instagram-as-last-effort-to-silence-protesters Iranian authorities restrict Instagram as last effort to silence protesters