For four years, Iranian citizens were locked away from social media. After social media, Twitter in particular, was used as a tool to organize protests, the government shut them all down and in fact was trying to build their own Internet. But apparently, the ban is over, at least for a while.
Of course, getting around the Iranian government’s Internet security was pretty much a matter of knowing how to set up a VPN, so a lot of Twitter and Facebook users just did that. But a new president was elected in June, partially on vows that he’d allow more access to the Internet, and it looks like he’s doing just that:
It wasn’t immediately clear if the newfound access applied to the whole country or just to parts of it. Even those who reported accessing Twitter and Facebook with no restrictions said that other websites were still blocked. And with no official announcement from the government, it remained possible that the access was accidental or temporary.
It’s true that expecting competence of the Iranian government when it comes to the Internet is probably not a good idea, but minor slip or quiet slackening, it’s good to see Iran able to interact with the wider world legally again. It was bad for Iran, both in the sense that being unable to talk to the Iranian people meant it was easier to demonize the country, and in the sense that Iranians are able to speak with friends and family again.
So, welcome back, Iranians, to social media. We hope you can stick around for a while.