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.


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.