Data Reveals Social Media Restrictions Across The Globe, Highlighting Free Speech Suppression

SurfShark,  a VPN service provider, has recently compiled and released data about social media restrictions in different countries across the world.

Particularly, the study entailed countries that have blocked social media and the reason surrounding the blockage. The insights are rather illuminating about censorship and how much control governments have over the general public's online presence.

Parameters for the study are as such: data has been collected from 185 different countries, highlighting their relationship with social media onwards from 2015. Social media in this context is defined as platforms including Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, etc. and communication apps (such as WhatsApp, Viber). Information was collected from open-source links such as Netblocks, and all data has been last updated on the 4th of December, 2020. Now that we have our limitations, let's get studying.

The most recent cases of widespread blockage have been reported in Cuba, Tanzania, Azerbaijan, and Algeria. While the former 3 lay restrictions due to socio-political unrest, such as mass protest and elections, Algeria followed a very unexpected pattern. The country chose to block social media outlets and cut internet connections in an attempt to prevent cheating and leakage of test papers during nation-wide baccalaureate examinations. The immediate contrast of reasoning between Algeria and the other 3 countries is enough to give anyone tonal whiplash.

Asia is reported to have the strictest lockdown restrictions on social media, with a reported 27 out of 48 countries enforcing rules on and off since 2015. China is particularly notorious for cutting off any and all forms of international social media, instead providing it's own alternatives. The country is also famous for widespread online censorship about events such as the 1989 Tiananmen Protests (which have never been acknowledged by the Chinese government).

Africa shows less consistency in their banking habits, choosing to only restrict online communications during times of protests, elections, and so on. Europe's eastern side shows absolutely no bans, while western countries such as Russia and Ukraine have shown a minor history of censorship. Oceania is regarded as a haven for social media, with no ramifications since 2015. Finally, while North America shows no open restrictions, South America seems to dabble in it occasionally (or vehemently, in the case of Venezuela).

Finally, the study concludes that one out of every 3 countries has experimented or is currently experimenting with social media and communication bans. This author also notes that all highlighted cases have happened around times of social unrest, to which a question must be posed. We expect our governments and politicians to hold guard over us, but who watches the Watchmen?

Data Reveals Social Media Restrictions Across The Globe, Highlighting Free Speech Suppression


H/T: SH.

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