The government of Iraq has decided to block social media networks including Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) and YouTube, the video service of Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOG) amid the growing insurgency in the country.
BBC’s Richard Galpin confirmed that the social media networks cannot be accessed in Baghdad, the capital of Iraq. Some users reported that a message from the Iraqi government’s Ministry of Communication appears when they attempt to visit the websites of Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) and YouTube.
In response to reports that social media networks are inaccessible in Iraq, a spokesperson for Facebook told ValueWalk, “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.”
Preventing militant leaders from using social media
A related report from Kuwait News Agency indicated that a source from Iraq’s Ministry of Communication confirmed that the federal government decided to block social networking sites and a number of pornographic websites across the country.
The source did not provide the reason behind the decision, however, some observers believe that it is a part of the Iraqi government’s strategy to prevent the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants from using social media networks to promote or encourage people to support their actions in the central and northern part of Iraq.
Some ISIS leaders are using a number of social media accounts and are posting messages on Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) and videos of speeches. The militant group has already seized several cities in Iraq and threatened to take over more cities including Baghdad.
Iraq needs more help from U.S. and International community
U.S. President Barack Obama said, “Iraq is going to need more help from us and the International community,” during a press conference. Washington is considering launching drone strikes against ISIS. Obama said he is looking all options to help Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to fight the insurgency.
President Obama said, “I don’t rule out anything because we do have a stake in making sure that these jihadists are not getting a permanent foothold in either Iraq or Syria.”
Yesterday, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said the U.S. government has been cooperative and has a responsibility to be proactive in helping Iraq to combat terrorism. He said Washington has helped and can help in different ways, including counterintelligence training and supplying equipment and ammunition, but he clarified that nobody called for the reintroduction of American troops in Iraq.