Report: State Dept. urged Twitter to reschedule maintenance

A planned downtime was rescheduled at the request of U.S. government authorities who say they want to keep communication channels active during the political upheaval following the Iranian elections.

When Twitter rescheduled some planned downtime in order to stay accessible for Iranian users in the midst of political upheaval, it was at the request of the U.S. State Department, according to CNN.

This should not be taken to mean that the U.S. is attempting to get involved at this point, CNN added. The State Department is working with multiple social-networking and communication services to ensure that conversation and information channels stay active.

"By necessity, the U.S. is staying hands-off of the election drama playing out in Iran, and officials say they are not providing messages to Iranians or 'quarterbacking' the disputed election process," the article by CNN's Elise Labott read.

Because the U.S. has no diplomatic relations with Iran, information gathered on the Web is crucial to its understanding of the post-election unrest that has led to mass protests and fatal clashes with police. Twitter, where users have been filtering relevant information with the hashtag #iranelection, has been a crucial hotspot for raw news.

Twitter's planned maintenance, according to a post on the company's official blog, was selected by its hosting partner, NTT America. The update is "a critical network upgrade [that] must be performed to ensure continued operation of Twitter," however, so it will instead take place this afternoon when it's well after midnight in Iran.

Meanwhile, in a sort of digital twist on that famous scene in The Thomas Crowne Affair, a new viral campaign is going around Twitter: Users from around the world are resetting the location data in their profiles to Tehran , the capital of Iran, in order to confuse Iranian authorities who may be attempting to use the microblogging tool to track down opposition activity.

 

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