Tuesday, June 16, 2009

To Keep Iranian News Flowing, U.S. Government Asks Twitter to Reschedule Maintenance

Once again, Twitter is proving invaluable in a crisis, in this case, the fallout and violence subsequent to the Iranian presidential election. It's proving so valuable, that Monday night, during what would be peak hours in Iran, the U.S. government asked the company to push back a scheduled maintenance period.

With the media being shut down, Iranians have been turning to Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, and other social networking sites to get the news out. Twitter had been scheduled for a maintenance outage Monday night, but CNN says that the U.S. government asked the company to delay the outage until 2 PM on Tuesday.
But they do want to make sure the technology is able to play its sorely-needed role in the crisis, which is why the State Department is advising social networking sites to make sure their networks stay up and running for Iranians to use them and helping them stay ahead of anyone who would try to shut them down.

For example, senior officials say the State Department asked Twitter to refrain for going down for periodic scheduled maintenance at this critical time to ensure the site continues to operate. Bureau’s and offices across the State Department, they say, are paying very close attention to Twitter and other sites to get information on the situation in Iran.
One senior U.S. official told CNN:
“There are lots of people here watching. There are some interesting messages going up. It is a very good example of where technology is helping."
Twitter worked with its network partner, NTT America to reschedule the time. In another interesting development, Twitter users are changing their Twitter account timezone to (GMT+3:30 Tehran) to help conceal #iranelection protestors from government authorities who may be trying to track them.
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