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Middle East

Twitter enables internetless posts in Syria

Following an Internet blackout that began on Thursday, micro-blogging service allows users to call in tweets.
Last Modified: 01 Dec 2012 09:48
Twitter had previously enabled the service in 2011 when Egyptian authorities shut down the internet for several days [Reuters]

Google and Twitter have reactivated a voice feature for Syrians to send out tweets during internet blackouts.

Friday's announcement of the reinstating of the voice-tweet programme marks the first use of the technology since authorities in Egypt shut down the internet for several days in 2011.

"Those who might be lucky enough to have a voice connection can still use Speak2Tweet by simply leaving a voicemail," David Torres, a New York-based Google developer said. Torres acknowledged that many Syrians may not be able to use the service because telecom networks have also been affected by recent communication blackouts.

Correspondents for the AFP news service noted that Internet and telephone communications, including mobile phones, were cut in the capital since Thursday.

The service allows people with a telephone connection to compose and send a 140-character tweet by speaking on their phones.

Those able to dial out can leave messages on several 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," Torres said.

"No Internet connection is required, and people can listen to the messages by dialing the same phone numbers or going to twitter.com/speak2tweet."

Activists accused the government of Bashar al-Assad, Syrian president, of preparing a "massacre" when the telephone lines and Internet first went down on Thursday.

Authorities explained the cut was due to "maintenance" work. Washington branded it as a desperate move on part of Damascus.

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