Surprise Freedom Is Short-Lived: Iranian Access To Social Media Was A ‘Glitch’

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Iranian Netizens were overjoyed yesterday after discovering that they had unfettered access to baby pictures and Justin Bieber updates (a.k.a. Facebook and Twitter). The glimmer of freedom, however, was short-lived: in less than a day, the government firewall had once again blocked access to social media sites. Iranian authorities blamed a ‘glitch’ in the system.

But, for a brief 24-hour period, the social media celebration was heartening to watch. “I’m happy that my first tweet from Iran via the mobile network is on the unblocking of #Twitter and #Facebook,” tweeted Iranian journalist, Ali Hashem.

“Iranians Gain Access to Facebook and Twitter,” gushed a New York Times headline.

BuzzFeed implied that the lift could have been part of new trend in diplomacy, noting a previous “Happy Rosh Hashanah” tweet from Foreign Minister Javad Zairf.

[tweet https://twitter.com/JZarif/status/375434442031910912]

Unfortunately, all of the optimistic speculation came crashing down. Maybe Iran will one day grant full Internet freedom, but it’s not likely to come by surprise; it’ll be a hard-won fight.