On Monday, Iran’s citizenry enjoyed access to something we take for granted: Facebook and Twitter.
As we’ve explained here and here, Iran is unburdened by silly things like freedom of speech and expression, and embraces a daring political philosophy that manifests itself most mundanely as very anti-social media. Unless you’re a member of the government and could use the free PR, of course.
But on Monday, a technical glitch made everyone from the Ayatollah on down to your average falafel vendor completely equal, at least in their ability to access social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.
Status updates included such gems as “OMG SO LONG SINCE UPDATING” and “fb an twit illegal in iran, but up today #yolo.” Just kidding, our Farsi is super rusty, but hundreds of citizens did indeed spend the day uploading photos to Facebook and locking down Twitter handles.
So what caused the glitch?
Social media has been blocked in Iran since 2009 by a government-enforced firewall. The move was a direct answer to citizen protests that were organized and pushed to viral status on Facebook and Twitter. Most citizens on Monday used social to thank Iran’s government for what they perceived as a sudden reversal of policy by the new president Hassan Rouhani.
But no such luck, Iran. The ban was back on as of Tuesday morning, with the government chalking the sudden access up to a “technical glitch” which may have been caused by “infighting” between groups that desire basic freedoms and groups that find it easier to just go with what the government says all the time.