June 15, 2009, 9:11 PM — Network maintenance that would have put Twitter offline for as long as 90 minutes late Monday has been postponed due to the importance the microblogging service is currently playing in Iran.
Twitter has emerged as a key route for information both within Iran and between it and other countries following last week's election. Protestors have taken to the streets after the results were announced and there have been allegations of vote fraud. In response the government has attempted to block access to foreign and independent media outlets sending information into the country.
Twitter remains accessible in Iran through proxies.
The maintenance was due to begin at 9:45pm PDT Monday evening, which is 9:15am Tuesday morning in Iran but has been pushed back to 2pm PDT Tuesday. The shift means mid-afternoon disruption for millions of Twitter users in the U.S. but translates to an outage at the relatively quieter time of 1:30am Wednesday in Iran.
"Our network partners at NTT America recognize the role Twitter is currently playing as an important communication tool in Iran," wrote co-founder Biz Stone on the company's blog.
Stone praised NTT America, a unit of Japan's NTT Communications, for delaying the work.
"Our partners are taking a huge risk not just for Twitter but also the other services they support worldwide -- we commend them for being flexible in what is essentially an inflexible situation," he wrote. "We chose NTT America Enterprise Hosting Services early last year specifically because of their impeccable history of reliability and global perspective. Today's decision and actions continue to prove why NTT America is such a powerful partner for Twitter."
NTT Communications was unavailable for comment.