On Monday, Internet users in Iran noticed that they could access Facebook and Twitter—the first time the social media sites have been viewable in the country since 2009. Despite the block, Iranians can normally access the sites using a VPN, but Twitter and Facebook users reported that the sites were suddenly freely accessible.
On Tuesday, this access disappeared.
Abdolsamad Khoramabadi, who leads Iran’s filtering and monitoring committee, blamed the sites’ temporary accessibility on “technical problems”—in other words, it was an accident. Some are claiming that the unblocking was a test to see how citizens would respond, perhaps as the beginning of a greater easing of Internet restrictions in Iran, but Khoramabadi has declared that his office is conducting an investigation to determine who is responsible for the glitch, suggesting that it wasn’t entirely government-sanctioned.
For now, Iranians are back to using VPNs—many of which have been targeted by censorship officials—to post tweets and status updates.