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#Public Sector

Social media banned in Iraq to restrict ISIS propaganda

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Facing a growing insurgency in the north, which threatens to pull the country apart, Iraq’s Ministry of Communications has blocked Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google and other sites, in the country.

Just within a week after the ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham), an off-shoot of Al Qaeda, posted loads of bloodthirsty messages and videos on various social networking sites the Iraqi government has sought to block access to social media in the country to prevent the spread of ISIS terror.

The Kuwait News Agency, citing a source in the Iraqi government, confirmed the report, suggesting the move to be a part of the attempt to curb extremist militants from using social networks to organise insurgency.

BBC News’ Ralph Galpin also confirmed that the social networks were blocked in Baghdad, but it’s still unclear if the entire country is facing the block.

“We are disturbed by reports of access issues in Iraq and are investigating,” a Facebook spokesperson said. “Limiting access to Internet services — essential for communication and commerce for millions of people — is a matter of concern for the global community.”

“We’re seeing reports that some users are not able to access YouTube in Iraq,” a YouTube spokesperson said. “There is no technical issue on our side and we’re looking into the situation.”

A Twitter spokesperson said that they are looking into the situation, but confirmed that “some users are not able to access.”

Cyber Arabs, an organization which monitors internet freedom has also reportedly confirmed that Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are blocked inside Iraq.

Some users reported that instant messaging services such Viber and WhatsApp have also been blocked.