Maryam Jamshidi

Iraqis Now Using Different Kinds of Social Media

June 27, 2014

With recent ISIS attacks, Iraqis found that they could no longer reliably access Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube. The Iraqi government blocked the country’s access to social media because ISIS is well-known for its supreme ability to effectively mobilize over these platforms. However, this is still concerning for citizens of Iraq to also not have access, especially for organizing and news-related reasons.

While Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube have all been blocked, social apps like Whisper and Firechat have not. Iraqis still use Whisper to anonymously talk about their concerns, challenges, and hopes with the country, as well as everyday topics like relationship problems and sources of inspiration.

Likewise, Firechat is a method of texting for people located up to about 200 feet away from each other. Instead of relying on an Internet signal, Firechat utilizes peer-to-peer mesh networking, which essentially means that devices “listen” for other devices that are connected via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. This app has become so popular in Iraq, that reportedly 40,000 downloads occurred over the past week.

To read more about Firechat and how Iraqis are using it via The Guardian, click here.

Written by Sonja Trierweiler, social media specialist and blogger on the Middle East.