WhatsApp is working to keep Iranians connected during an open Internet shutdown that sparked nationwide protests

WhatsApp is working to keep Iranians connected during an open Internet shutdown that sparked nationw ...

WhatsApp, a meta platform, said on Thursday that it is working to keep users in Iran connected after the country restricted access to the app and social media platform Instagram.

In a tweet, WhatsApp said it "will do anything" in its technical capacity to keep the service accessible and that it did not block Iranian phone numbers.

We are able to connect the world privately. We stand up for people to access private messaging. We are not blocking Iranian numbers. We are working to keep our Iranian friends connected and will do whatever we can to keep our service up and running.

Iran banned on Wednesday access to Instagram and WhatsApp, two of the country''s last social networks, despite protests over the death of a woman in police custody, according to residents and internet watchdog NetBlocks.

Mahsa Amini, 22, who was arrested in Tehran by morality authorities for wearing "unsuitable attire," died last week. Amini''s anger has erupted as a result of the Islamic Republic''s freedom and an economy that is facing sanctions.

Protesters in Tehran and other Iranian towns were torched earlier on Thursday as public outrage over the death showed no signs of abating, with reports of security personnel under fire.

On Thursday, the Associated Press claimed that the country had instituted a near-total Internet blackout on Wednesday after the government issued protests against Amini''s death, after she was detained by the country''s morality authorities for allegedly violating its strict-enforced dress code.

Security concerns may be prompted by measures to reduce internet access, according to a government official. Instagram and WhatsApp were the last major social media networks in Iran.

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According to a report, the country is currently blocking Facebook, Telegram, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and WhatsApp. However, senior Iranian officials have access to public accounts on these platforms, although Iranians are able to access these services via virtual private networks and proxy systems.

2022 Thomson Reuters