Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have been blocked in Iraq. A source from the Iraqi Ministry of Communications told the Kuwait News Agency on Friday that the government ordered the ministry of communications to block access to those sites.
Extremists with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) tweeted earlier this week: “Praise be to Allah, who gave Twitter to the mujahideen so that they may share their joys and not have to listen to the BBC, al-Arabia, Al-Jazeera.”
Twitter accounts associated with ISIS and its affiliates have been posting videos of the fighting. The Iraqi government shut down access to social networks as it scrambles to defend its capital.
Social media is a potent tool for radical groups, especially ones that have substantial support amongst the general population. “Some residents, hardened by their hatred of the army, spoke of the insurgents almost as if they were a liberating army,” reported The New York Times. “Many [residents] spoke of being able to move around the city more freely for the first time in years, after the militants unblocked roads that the army had shut down.”
Some tweeters reported that popular mobile messaging services were also blocked:
— zahraa ∞▲. (@zahraa901) June 13, 2014