Reports are circulating online about a partial lift of the blockage of major social media and other websites across Iraq.
Global Voices Advocacy yesterday reported that the Iraqi Ministry of Communications ordered Internet providers to shut down Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, among other websites, as well as services, such as Skype, and VoIP services like Viber and WhatsApp.
Minutes ago, Iraqi blogger Hamzoz reported [ar]:
شركة الجزيرة نت للأنترنيت رفعت الحجب عن المواقع والتطبيقات ولكن شركة #ايرثلينك وهي الاكبر لم ترفعه لغاية الآن ومازالت تحجب #insm_iq #العراق
— Iraqi Blogger (@Hamzoz) June 14, 2014
Jazeera Net has lifted the blockage on sites and applications but Earthlink, which is the largest, hasn't yet and continues to block sites
But Lebanese activist Mohamad Najem warns:
Apparently blockage of social media sites were removed now in #Iraq, the fear is that the Gov is getting ready 2 cut the Internet! #insm_iq — Mohamad محمد (@MoNajem) June 14, 2014
According to journalist Martin Chulov, Facebook was blocked in Iraq to stop members of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, currently fighting in Iraq, “to organise and mobilise.”
Another explanation comes from the Facebook page for Iraq’s Ministry of Communications, which posted a message yesterday announcing an impending gradual shutdown of the Internet throughout Iraq on June 15 for “maintenance of fibre optic cables.” It is unclear whether the blockages are related to these plans.