U.S. State Department Told Twitter To Maintain Service During Iranian Election Protests

Damien McElroy, Telegraph: Twitter, the social networking website, postponed a scheduled
maintenance shutdown after a US State Department request that
it keep publishing during the Iran election protests.

“We highlighted to them that this was an important form of communication,” said a State Department official, referring to a conversation the department had with Twitter executives at the time of the disputed Iranian election.

Iranians have used social networking sites to send information, videos and pictures to update the outside world on the progress of demonstrations and other events.

The State Department official told reporters on the condition of anonymity that the Twitter service was a key form of communication after Tehran shut down websites, mobile phones and newspapers during the protests.

“One of the areas where people are able to get out the word is through Twitter,” the official said. “They announced they were going to shut down their system for maintenance and we asked them not to.”

Demonstrators in Iran on Monday used Twitter to post battle cries and to spread word about clashes with police and hardline supporters of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Messages posted on the micro-blogging service, some with links to pictures, streamed from Iran despite reported efforts by authorities there to block news of protests following an election that returned Mr Ahmadinejad to power amid opposition claims of vote-rigging.