As Allahpundit noted Sunday, Iran has started to shut down social media and internet messaging services throughout the country in order to “maintain tranquility.” Yesterday the Associated Press’ Josh Lederman noted that Trump has been calling for Iran to turn the internet back on.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Trump administration calls on #Iran to unblock Instagram, other social media amid protests
— Josh Lederman (@joshledermanAP) January 2, 2018
Lederman was tweeting about his AP story about statements made by the U.S. State Department:
Following several days of tweets by President Donald Trump rooting on the protesters and declaring that it’s “time for change,” the State Department took it further, arguing that the United States has an “obligation not to stand by.” Undersecretary of State Steve Goldstein, in charge of public diplomacy, said the U.S. wants Iran’s government to “open these sites” including the photo-sharing platform Instagram and the messaging app Telegram.
“They are legitimate avenues for communication,” Goldstein said. “People in Iran should be able to access those sites.”
Iranians seeking to evade the blocks can use virtual private networks, Goldstein said. Known as VPNs, the services create encrypted data “tunnels” between computers and are used in many countries to access overseas websites blocked by the local government.
Just moments later, NY Times’ White House correspondent Maggie Haberman tried to equate Iran shutting internet services down in the country, and Trump blocking people on Twitter.
“The president often blocks individual people from seeing the @realDonaldTrump Twitter feed” She tweeted.
Maggie Haberman is trying to draw a moral equivilence between blocking somebody who is annoying you on Twitter, to shutting down the entire internet in your country and taking away free speech. You don’t get your daily news from Donald Trump’s twitter feed, but imagine if the government blocked you from reading any online news, or blocked you from messaging somebody in a different part of the country. The two situations aren’t comparable in the slightest.