Syria’s Internet and cell phone service has been blacked out since yesterday, giving citizens little to no access to reaching the rest of the world. In the wake of these events, Google is once again promoting its Speak2Tweet program in an effort to facilitate a one-way line of communication to keep Internet users outside of Syria up to date.
Twitter has been a critical tool in connecting the world during critical events, whether it’s a natural disaster or a war. Over the past few years, Middle Eastern governments have taken to cutting off Internet access during times of conflict, leaving citizens without a way to tell those of us outside the region what’s happening. During the Arab Spring of last year, a handful of states shut off connectivity as violence spiraled – but of course, loopholes were found.
Speak2Tweet was developed as a collaboration between Twitter and Google during this period of time after recognizing the need for an alternative channel for citizen journalists to publish the latest events.
So if you’re ever in a situation where you cut off from an Internet connection but feel obligated to tweet what’s happening, you should keep a note of the following phone numbers you can call to tweet a message to the Speak2Tweet Twitter account:
+90 212 339 1447
+30 21 1 198 2716
+39 06 62207294
+1 650 419 4196
All you need is a landline or a mobile phone, although it appears that according to a blog post on Google+ the Internet isn’t the only communication line that has been cut off in Syria. Phone access is reportedly unavailable as well.
Google published a more detailed post on Google+ explaining how to use the service:
“But those who might be lucky enough to have a voice connection can still use Speak2Tweet by simply leaving a voicemail on one of these international phone numbers (+90 212 339 1447 or +30 21 1 198 2716 or +39 06 62207294 or +1 650 419 4196), and the service will tweet the message. No Internet connection is required, and people can listen to the messages by dialing the same phone numbers or going to twitter.com/speak2tweet.”
At the moment, nearly 90 percent of Syria is still without an Internet connection. The Syrian government is claiming that terrorists are responsible for cutting Internet cables, but CloudFare, a website optimization service, in a detailed blog post writes, “From our investigation, that appears unlikely to be the case … The systematic way in which routes were withdrawn suggests that this was done through updates in router configurations, not through a physical failure or cable cut.”