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Syrians without internet offered Google's Speak2Tweet

As Syria closes its second day since the internet went dark amid a bloody civil war, Google and Twitter are promoting their joint service that tweets voice messages recorded by phone.

Google is promoting the Speak2Tweet service it originally launched with Twitter during Egypt's revolution-related internet outage almost two years ago for the use of Syrians whose internet and other communications were crippled this week.

In a Google+ post, Google provides the international phone numbers that Syrians can call to access Speak2Tweet. The service records voice messages that are automatically tweeted through the @Speak2Tweet Twitter account.

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However, Google acknowledges that this service may be difficult to access in Syria because of reported difficulties connecting to hardline and mobile phone networks.

A little less than two years ago, when Internet access was cut off in Egypt, we worked with Twitter to launch Speak2Tweet, giving the ability for anyone to tweet using just a voice connection. 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 (+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.#SyriaBlackout

The internet outage comes after months of civil war in the country, as Syria's President Bashar al-Assad drags out his miltary battle against a massive opposition to his regime. Opposition activists and Assad officials have blamed each other for the outage.

Charts from Akamai and Arbor Networks show that network activity went dead in the country around 10:30 a.m. yesterday. Although reports that the Syrian airport has been reopened suggest that the fighting has calmed, communications remain hampered.

Hacking collective Anonymous claims its analysis shows that someone "physically severed the fiber-optic and coaxial cables coming into Syria."

"Essentially, they have physically 'pulled the plug out of the wall,'" Anonymous said in a statement, adding that "this is not damage that can be easily or quickly repaired."

The group blames the Assad regime and has vowed to launch attacks at Syrian web properties hosted abroad.

 
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