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Facebook, YouTube Blocked in Iraq Amid Increasing Violence

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Facebook, YouTube and other social media platforms are largely inaccessible in Iraq Friday as the country is being threatened by a Sunni insurgency advancing on the capital.

“We are disturbed by reports of access issues in Iraq and are investigating. Limiting access to Internet services — essential for communication and commerce for millions of people — is a matter of concern for the global community,” a spokesperson for Facebook told TIME.

YouTube also confirmed that the company is receiving reports that “some users” in Iraq are unable to access the site. “There is no technical issue on our side and we’re looking into the situation,” a spokesperson said.

“Users in Iraq are reporting issues accessing our service, Twitter said. “We’re investigating their reports and we hope service will be restored quickly.”

Citing an anonymous source purportedly inside Iraq’s Ministry of Communications, the Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) also reported that social networking sites, as well as “a number of pornographic websites,” have been blocked in Iraq.

“The source did not reveal the motive for blocking these sites at the moment,” KUNA reports, “although some see it as part of government measure to prevent militants of Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) from using media outlets. ISIL militants have released videos and pictures through websites to promote their actions in central and north of Iraq.”

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