Breaking News Emails
As sectarian violence in Iraq continues to spread, the country's citizens are increasingly posting anonymous messages on the mobile app Whisper, according to the company.
Iraqi posts on Whisper, which allows users to post short anonymous messages and receive replies, have spiked, the company told NBC News. The number of Iraqi "whispers" tripled from June 12 to June 13 -- and then doubled from June 13 to June 15.
"We’re definitely seeing that upward trend continue," Whisper editor-in-chief Neetzan Zimmerman told NBCNews.
Because messages on the app are anonymous, the authenticity of them could not be verified.
He declined to specify how many Whisper posts are coming from Iraq. The spike comes after the Iraqi government reportedly blocked usage of sites like Facebook and Twitter amid a violent insurgence from the militant group Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS).
"We’ve always positioned ourselves as a safe place, and that holds true for anyone -- regardless of whether you’re in Iraq or if you’re in Nebraska,” Zimmerman said.
Zimmerman posted a sample of the Iraqi Whisper posts on his own Twitter account.
But not every Whisper from Iraq relates overtly to the current turmoil, Zimmerman pointed out.
"When we watch the news we get so wrapped up in thinking of Iraq as just this perpetually violent place ... but there’s still people there who are living their life," Zimmerman said. "They’re under stress, but that doesn’t prevent them from expecting another day to come.”
Zimmerman tweeted an Iraqi Whisper post that discussed being gay and single, and another that admitted a desire to try marijuana. But even those two personal posts carried with them undertones of life in a warring nation.