Surfshark Reveals Messaging App Restrictions Affecting Over Half the Population of the World!

In today's digital age, messaging apps are a crucial part of our daily lives. These apps have enabled us to connect with our friends, loved ones, make new connections, and conduct business across borders. However, not all governments around the world are in favor of allowing their citizens to connect or communicate freely on these platforms.

A recent survey by Surfshark, a leading VPN provider, has revealed that messaging app restrictions are a sore reality affecting over half of the world's population, with more than 5 billion people victims of these restrictions since the year 2015.

The study analyzed 196 countries and territories and found that a whopping 53 of them have imposed restrictions on messaging apps over the past couple of years. In most cases, these restrictions are politically motivated and they are targeted toward popular platforms like WhatsApp, Telegram, and Skype, and the users.

The research found the causes and reasons behind this imposition on the citizens. It was found that 32% of the restrictions were caused due to protests, 14% of which were caused due to elections whereas 13% of them were caused because of the internet laws placed by the country. The remaining 41% of the restrictions were caused due to more political chaos including military operations etc.

WhatsApp is a messaging app that has been detected to be the most restricted in 48 countries of the 53 that have imposed a ban on messaging apps, they have mostly targeted this app the most. Telegram takes second place in this list being the second most targeted app, with half of these countries’ restrictions imposed on it. Other messaging applications targeted at 38% of the cases include Skype, Signal, and Viber.

There are also cases where governments have banned the use of these apps as they refused to compromise on protecting the users' data and conversations from being accessed by any third parties, which also includes government agencies. In 2018, Russia banned Telegram for this reason, whereas Brazil banned WhatsApp in 2016. Another case was seen where the United Kingdom could become the third country on this list if the Online Safety Bill is passed that requires the app to scan data and conversations of the users for any illegal activity, therefore, putting the “end-to-end encryption” to a halt.

The impact of this imposition of messaging app restrictions is quite significant, with over two-thirds of the global population affected by them. Currently, around 3.3 billion people are living under such messaging app restrictions, with two-thirds of them residing in Asian countries.

The VPN provider, Surfshark's research sheds light on this pressing issue affecting millions of people worldwide. While governments have the responsibility to maintain law and order, restricting access to messaging apps should not be the go-to solution, especially when it comes to silencing dissenting voices or suppressing democratic values. Imposing such laws is pushing people into a corner against their will.

In conclusion, the study highlights the importance of protecting online privacy and freedom of expression, not just in countries with overtly repressive regimes, but in democracies that might be inching towards authoritarianism as well. As individuals and communities, it's crucial to remain vigilant and demand accountability from those in power, so that we can continue to communicate and express ourselves freely, both online and offline.

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