Global Economy Shrank by $5.5 Billion in 2021 Due to Internet Censorship

The internet is a really powerful tool because of the fact that this is the sort of thing that could potentially end up allowing people to learn about things and obtain perspectives that they would not have otherwise been exposed to. Suffice it to say that this is something that a lot of world governments are afraid of since many of them attempt to provide a narrative that would keep them in power for the most part.

This unique set of circumstances has resulted in internet censorship being quite widespread in several nations that exist at present. There are several ways in which governments can censor the internet, such as throttling bandwidth to reduce speeds or alternatively attempting to block websites and censor certain terms on social media so that average users don’t end up getting exposed to them. A major problem that this creates is that a lack of internet prevents people from being able to obtain an objective world view and it also helps to keep autocratic rulers in power.

With all of that having been said and now out of the way, it is important to note that internet censorship also has a really strong financial impact on the world around us. Top10VPN, a group that focuses on digital rights and security, estimates that internet censorship has cost the global economy no less than $5.5 billion in the year 2021, which indicates that this sort of censorship can prevent world economies from achieving their full potential by growing at a rapid enough rate all in all.

The country that was impacted most severely by this occurrence might just be Myanmar. This country’s military apparatus took over the government in February of 2021, and it followed this by shutting down access to social media sites and the like so that it could solidify its power and also prevent people from learning about the true extent of what its new military dictatorship was actually up to. This has shrunk Myanmar’s economy by around $2.8 billion, so around half of internet censorship based economic losses have occurred within this specific nation.

Myanmar is not the only country that has suffered from economic losses due to internet censorship either. The Nigerian government blocked Twitter on the 10th of June in 2021, and this has resulted in the country losing out on $1.5 billion worth of economic activity. Overall, internet shutdowns have become 36% more frequent this year, and the number of people that were impacted by such forms of censorship grew by over 80% from 268 million in 2020 to over 486 million in 2021.

Half a billion people without unrestricted internet access is definitely something that will have a really negative impact on the world in general. However, it is essential to realize that the internet is not a luxury to any extent at all. It is also a hub of economic activity, allowing people to earn money and bolster their own country’s foreign reserves. Nations that block internet access are pretty much just shooting themselves in the foot and it is something that can cause a lot of problems for them in the future that they would most definitely struggle to solve.

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