In the West, we’re much more enlightened. The government doesn’t shut down the Internet in order to silence dissent. The social media giants silence dissent on the government’s behalf.
“Iran shuts down Meta’s Instagram and WhatsApp to stop people from sharing videos of anti-morality police demonstrations,” by Sophie Mellor, Fortune, September 22, 2022:
Iranian authorities have almost completely shut off the country’s internet and restricted access to Instagram and WhatsApp after protestors flooded social media with videos of anti-government demonstrations and violent altercations with Iran’s police.
Meta’s Instagram and WhatsApp—the two last remaining social media platforms running in the country—were disrupted on multiple internet providers as anger over the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini at the hands of the morality police set off large-scale protests across the country.
London-based internet watchdog NetBlocks also reported a “nation-scale loss of connectivity” on Iran’s main mobile telephone provider and another company’s network.
The protests began last week after the country’s Guidance Patrol—the morality police in charge of overseeing the public implementation of the hijab—arrested Amini in Tehran for “unsuitable attire” and she died in custody days later. Images emerged that suggested she had been beaten, although the police claim she died of a sudden heart attack.
While Iran has some of the strictest internet controls in the world, with TikTok, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook all blocked, the news quickly spread online with #MahsaAmini becoming one of the most repeated hashtags on Persian Twitter.
Millions of images of protestors damaging symbols of the Islamic Republic and women burning their veils and cutting their hair were posted online, prompting Iranian authorities to cut internet access and stamp down any efforts to communicate online.
Iranians can now only communicate with one another via choppy phone calls, texts without photos on WhatsApp, and blocked websites only accessible to those using virtual private networks—which 80% of Iranians have, according to RadioFreeEurope.
“Iran is now subject to the most severe internet restrictions since the November 2019 massacre,” NetBlocks said….