Facebook tops list of most restricted social media apps

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Facebook is the most frequently restricted social media app by governments around the world. That’s according to Internet Shutdown Tracker, compiled by cybersecurity firm Surfshark.

The tracker was developed in partnership with internet watchdog Netblocks, which says cases of social media censorship this year have spread to every continent. In the first half of 2022, Surfshark recorded six incidents in five countries: Brazil, Burkina Faso, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe all shut down their social networks once, and Russia twice, with one case still ongoing. .

The report states, “46% of the world’s population has been affected by government-imposed Facebook restrictions over the past seven years.

“Twitter and WhatsApp follow the app, with the latter being the most censored VOIP app. Governments have also targeted Instagram, Telegram and YouTube.

“Currently, 16 of the 196 countries and territories analyzed restrict access to social media or VOIP services. Most of the current restrictions (12) are recorded in Asian countries.

The most common reasons for censorship were political unrest and protests, the report said.

Internet surveillance, censorship and restrictions are becoming the new normal for some governments in their fight against political unrest, analysts say.

However, the study notes that the total number of internet restriction cases decreased by 14% globally in the first half of this year, from 84 in the second half of 2021 to 72.

Surfshark research tracks partial and complete internet and social media shutdowns in 196 countries and territories from 2015 to present.

According to the Surfshark study, 5.7 billion people in 76 countries have been deprived of internet access since 2015.

Commenting on the latest report, Mr. Alp Toker, CEO of Netblocks, said: “The slight decrease in internet shutdowns seen nationwide in early 2022 follows an unprecedented period of internet addiction during the pandemic. .

“Yet this is not a respite – around the world the general decline in freedoms continues, which is why it is essential to monitor and support human rights and democracy in the digital sphere. “

Agneska Sablovskaja, Senior Researcher at Surfshark, added, “We are seeing a positive trend in declining internet restriction cases this semester. Nonetheless, the number of countries using internet outages as a weapon to silence citizen unrest remains worrying.

“Most of the cases are national or local in scope where the internet is slow.

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