Social media sites, including Facebook and Twitter, were down in Iraq Friday as the country’s Communications Ministry blocked access to them.
The Iraqi Ministry of Communications also notified citizens in a Facebook post Friday night local time that the Internet would be cut off on Sunday “in all parts of Iraq” to maintain optical cable along the Turkish border. It did not address reports that social media was inaccessible.
Baghdad-based BBC reporter Richard Galpin said Friday that Facebook, Twitter and YouTube were blocked in the Iraqi capital.
A Communications Ministry source confirmed the shutdown to the Kuwait News Agency, but did not give a reason for the blockage. The KNA suggested the social media sites may have been blocked to stop militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria from using them to communicate. The al Qaeda offshoot has used the Web to upload videos and pictures of their offensive in Iraq. The group took over Iraq’s second-largest city, Mosul, earlier this week, and threatens to march on Baghdad.
When Iraqi users log on to Twitter and Facebook, they get this message, according to Huffington Post blogger and political activist Ruwayda Mustafah: