The internet was shut down by Iran on September 19 due to protests. Several internet monitoring organizations, including Kentik, Netblocks, and the Open Observatory of Network Interference, have documented the disruptions. Irancell, Rightel, and MCI are the country's biggest providers. Netblocks says it has seen a "curfew-style pattern of disruptions" with multiple mobile providers having lost connection for 12 hours in a row. Text messages containing Amini's name have been blocked, according to the leader of Access Now. It doesn't go through if you send a message with that name.
The fight against the two messaging services began on September 21st. Some of the only remaining social media services in Iran have been cut off because of the blocking of access to the popular messaging apps. The internet has been banned for a long time. State-backed Iranian media said it was not clear how long the blocks would last, but that they had been imposed for national security reasons. An academic at the Oxford Internet Institute who has studied Iran's internet shutdowns and controls says they seem to be targeting the platforms that are the lifeline for information and communication.
An account run by a group of people both inside and outside of Iran is posting videos to document the protests. The videos are sent by people on the ground, and the group checks the content before posting it on the internet. The group says it gets more than 1,000 videos per day and has more than 450,000 followers on social media.
When people in Iran can't see that others are protesting, they may stop themselves. You become more brave when you see other people doing the same thing. They said that you are more enthusiastic to do something about it. You feel alone when the internet isn't working.
People outside of Iran seem to have been impacted by the blocking of the messaging service. People using Iranian phone numbers have complained that the service is slow or not working at all. The messaging service denied that it is blocking phone numbers in Iran. The company that owns +98 numbers outside of Iran has refused to give any more information. Alimardani says there's something strange going on and it's likely to do with the way Iran is implementing censorship on different platforms.
Governments have turned to internet shutdowns as tools of suppression in recent years. The internet was shut down by 23 countries in the year 2020. Iran's officials are familiar with the practice. Iran has disrupted the internet three times in the last year. Internet shutdowns provide a cover for the authorities to commit atrocities against people during protests.