Twitter and YouTube the social media sites were banned in Iran, but some Iranians have found that they can easily access them. The Telegraph learned this from Arthur MacMillan, deputy bureau chief of international news agency Agence France-Presse, that YouTube was working normally over a Wi-Fi connection, but not Facebook or Twitter. There were a few users who could access Twitter as well, suggesting a temporary glitch.
Is it a technical glitch?
Reports of removing the ban on social media follows a decision from both Europe and the U.S. to lift economic sanctions on Iran. The country has complied with the terms of its nuclear deal by curtailing its program. Previously also, the internet ban was lifted in Iran unexpectedly. In September 2013, both Twitter and Facebook became accessible to users in Iran after a four-year ban. But, citing a technical glitch, the government re-imposed the ban a day later.
Internet censorship in Iran has a very long history with the country imposing bans on sites like Facebook, Google+, and YouTube since the controversial Presidential elections of 2009. However, these bans could not stop Iranians from accessing these sites as they use VPNs or virtual private networks to get around the ban. The VPNs mask the location of an internet user.
Al Jazeera conducted a survey of 2,300 Iranians, and 58% of them reported using Facebook, while 37% said they used Google+. Social media sites are not accessible to the general public, but Iranian president Hassan Rouhani uses Twitter as a communication channel. This prompted Twitter’s Jack Dorsey to make an ironic comment. “Good evening, President. Are citizens of Iran able to read your tweets?”
Turkey, China, North Korea, Pakistan, Vietnam and Eritrea are a few other countries that censor social media sites. As of now, there has been no confirmation from YouTube or Twitter about the lifting of the ban.
Twitter service down
Meanwhile, Twitter’s service was unavailable to users worldwide on Tuesday morning. Confirming the outage, the micro-blogging firm told The Guardian that some “users are currently experiencing problems accessing Twitter. We are aware of the issue and are working towards a resolution.”
By 5 a.m. Eastern, the service did become accessible to the majority of users, but the company’s image handling service and home timelines were not working properly, says The Guardian.