Android phones in Iran get false quake alerts as Mahsa Amini protests continue
Authorities offered conflicting accounts as to why the incident happened
Iranian authorities are offering conflicting accounts after a false earthquake alert went off on Android smartphones as the country grapples with nationwide protests in the wake of Mahsa Amini's death.
Col. Ramin Pashaei, deputy chief of Iran’s cyber police, told Iranian state television that only Android phones received the false alert. He blamed testing at state-owned service provider Iran Mobile Communications Co. for the alert.
Meanwhile, Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency described the incident as a hack and that the message was fake and told the public to not leave their homes.
The two conflicting accounts of the event could not be immediately reconciled.
"The Android Earthquake Alerts System did not issue a warning in the region during this time frame," a Google spokesperson told Fox News Digital.
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Two months have passed since mass protests erupted in Iran after 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, an Iranian woman, died in Tehran in the custody of the morality police.
The movement continues to gain strength in the Middle East and capture global attention despite continued violence and suppression at the hands of the Iranian regime.
A viral social media video appeared to show authorities demolishing the family home of Elnaz Rekabi, a climber who competed in an international contest without a headscarf in October.
Rekabi later claimed she had done so unintentionally, but she was widely assumed to have expressed support for the protests.
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Iranian officials have repeatedly shut down mobile internet connection since the beginning of the Amini protests and disrupted access to Instagram and WhatsApp, two of the most popular social media services in the country that the public used to share the human right violations with the outside world.
Amini's death has sparked calls to overthrow Iran’s theocracy, one of the greatest challenges faced by Tehran since the chaotic years after the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
Rights group HRANA said that as of last week, 469 protesters had been killed, including 64 minors. It said 61 government security forces had also been killed by the violent regime. As many as 18,210 protesters are believed to have been arrested.
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The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this post.