2020, when the web infrastructure and security company Cloudflare, which provides global DDoS attack mitigation services in addition to its content delivery network, introduced its new service, Cloudflare Radar, Marc Lamik in the company’s blog, reported processing of “18 million HTTP requests and 6 million DNS requests on average per second” and said “with 1 billion unique IP addresses connected to the Cloudflare network” as well as “blocking 72 billion cyberthreats daily” the company provides one of the most representative views of Internet traffic in the world. Fluctuations in the volume of Internet traffic, in addition to natural events such as sunrise and sunset (the use of Internet decreases at night and increases during the day) or disasters and accidents, often have artificial reasons; Reasons that arise from humans or governments. In general, Internet traffic has been growing continuously since its inception until today.
This continuous growth of Internet traffic on a global scale did not stop in 2022, and according to the Cloudflare Radar report, its growth rate was 23%, this year:
In the case of Iran, however, the graph of Internet traffic growth in 2022 – to be more precise: from January 15, 2022, until today – presents a completely different picture:
A completely political picture in which once can read the history of the ongoing Iran revolution (Year 1401 per Persian calendar) like a dendrochronologist that deciphers the events of the world from the rings of the old body of a tree.
In June, the school exam season, we see a rapid growth in traffic. A month later, after the regime’s propaganda plan for “Hijab Day” on July 12 was severely defeated by the people with the launch of #No2Hijab (حجاببیحجاب#) campaign, and it had the opposite result of what they had spent for in the international media and public opinion, the drop in internet traffic starts slowly and gradually at first.
In fact, the origin of the protests that formed two months later on September 16 with the killing of Mahsa Amini in custody, quickly spread throughout Iran and led to the sparks of the 1401 revolution, should be determined here: Successful No2Hijab campaign, in the Saturday morning bus with Sepideh Rashnou, in “piss on your turban” by Elham Farshad and Melika Abdoli.
Based on the report published by HRANA, which contains the names and details as well as the date of death of protesters in the first eighty-two days of nationwide protests in Iran, we extracted the data related to the time of death, which you can see in the interactive chart below.
In the month of September, as seen, September 22 and 23 are the bloodiest days of this month, and September 30, is the most brutal massacre since the beginning of the 1401 revolution: Zahedan’s Bloody Friday. This amount of killings and crimes of the regime is reflected in the graph of the annual report of the fluctuation of Internet traffic in Iran. From September 16 to September 30, Iran’s internet traffic volume will decrease from positive 59% to negative 44% in a huge fall of 103%.
The decrease in the volume of traffic in October continues with minor fluctuations until it reaches the bottom at negative 61% on October 16.
The report shows internet outages of 2022 in another graph. The internet in Iran has had frequent outages in 8 months out of the 12 months of the year. Most of internet disruptions were in September, that is, the beginning of nationwide protests after the state-murder of Mahsa Amini, 30 cases of internet disruptions, applied by the Islamic Republic, are registered in the “Cloudflare Internet Interruption Radar.”
Out of 150 cases of internet outages worldwide during 2022, the Islamic Republic has caused 43% of the total outages of the year by applying 65 cases of widespread internet outages in the country. At least since November 2019, internet outage in Iran has one meaning: the regime is committing a crime.
The Cloudflare Radar’s 2022 report also shares other valuable data, including the share of mobile internet usage. In the ranking of the top 10 countries in the world in mobile internet usage in January 2022, Iran will go from ninth place to first place in April until it completely disappears from the radar screen again in September (the beginning of the protests).
Another interesting point that can be seen in the comparison of the graphs related to the fluctuations of Iran’s Internet traffic is the increase in bot traffic, i.e. traffic with non-human origin, around the end of September, at the same time as the decrease in Internet traffic with the start of nationwide protests. On September 16, bots accounted for almost 20% of Internet traffic. Within two weeks, this share increased to 92%. A reverse trend! Because the internet outage and filtering of social networks, messengers and websites, severe censorship and internet speed reduction, as we have seen before, had led to the volume of internet traffic in Iran to drop 103% in the same period. Of course, more data and details are needed to identify the type and origin of this “non-human traffic”, but what the comparison of these data makes clear is the governmental origin of this reverse trend. At the same time as the brutal repression, the cyber army of the Islamic Republic is sending bots to the field to deceive public opinion, implement social media campaigns and carry out destruction operations and spread fake news on a large scale.
All these measures failed. The Islamic Republic could not hide its crimes from the eyes of the world. #MahsaAmini broke the historical hashtag record. The protests have been going on for three months. They are becoming more radical every day. Every day new forms of protest are created by people. Forced confessions, narratives full of lies and contradictions of the state media, repeated and clumsy productions of radio and television (IRIB), threats, assaults, executions and torture,… and internet outages, none of them not only have not saved the regime from the path it has fallen down, but also has accelerated its fall.
No one can predict when the system will collapse. However, the type of collapse can be calculated and predicted. The model for this type of collapse is the Dam-Breaking. This wall, behind which a huge amount of anger and blood have been accumulated, will gradually be destroyed and weakened, but it will collapse all at once.
Translation of this post by Sahar.