Google and Twitter have resurrected their Speak2Tweet service, in order to help Syrian web users have their voices heard despite the Assad regime’s decision to halt the country’s internet services.
The service, which allows users to send a tweet by phone, was first rolled out last year in order to help netizens in Egypt communicate despite former president Mubarak’s decision to cut the internet there for several days.
Announcing the news on Google+ last Friday, the ad giant cautioned that that Speak2Tweet may itself be disrupted if reports of mobile and landline service outages in Syria are true.
In the last day, Internet access has been completely cut off in Syria. Unfortunately we are hearing reports that mobile phones and landlines aren’t working properly either. 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 and the service will tweet the message. No Internet connection is required, and people can listen to the messages by dialling the same phone numbers or going to twitter.com/speak2tweet.
Syrian data traffic dropped suddenly last Thursday when 77 networks – equating to 92 per cent of the country’s internet supply – shut down, according to net monitor Renesys.
The decision to cut internet access echoes moves by former regimes in Egypt and Libya and could point to the increasing desperation of Assad to cling onto power in the face of international condemnation and a fierce civil war that has claimed tens of thousands over the past 20 months. ®