NIGERIA: The recent ban on Twitter operations in West Africa’s most populous nation has placed Nigeria as the 66th country in the world to restrict social media.
This is according to a study conducted by protection company, Surfshark whose report was made available to Transcontinental Times.
The report showed a study that analysed countries’ restriction to social media from 2015 to present.
It revealed that shutdowns on social media services have become an increasingly popular measure for oppressive regimes to control public sentiment and freedom of speech.
The study further revealed that 66 out of 180 countries have blocked or heavily restricted access to social media since 2015 with Africa being a volatile environment for social media stating that cutting off social media access is a common practice in African countries, especially during elections, protests, demonstrations, or exams.
The study revealed that at least 30 countries in Africa have blocked or heavily restricted social media access since 2015.
The research similarly showed that Asia has the strictest social media shutdowns while in the America’s, 13 percent of all countries endure social media blocks.
It stated that in Europe, the social media restrictions are more prominent in the east while Australia and Oceania are the heaven for social media as they have had zero recorded cases of social media restrictions.
Social Media restrictions
The Communications Manager at Surfshark, Gabrielle Racaityte-Racai in a statement that followed the report said that social media has become an influential political player on its own which is why governments have been trying to restrict use of it.
“Social media has established itself as a key political player of its own. However, as its influence grows, so does the governments’ desire to censor it by introducing new laws, restricting access, or blocking social media altogether,” she stated.
The report stated that social media restrictions have been a rising trend over the past six years, with a total of 66 countries worldwide recording cases after the first time the Egyptian government enforced an internet blackout back in 2011.
“Since then, internet censorship has seen prominent growth worldwide, especially in Asian and African regions, and even more so recently during elections and other political events.
“Over six years, at least 16 countries in Africa alone have restricted access to social media due to elections and 7 due to protests.
“In 2021 alone, there were eight political cases of internet disruption across the world in Nigeria, Uganda, Russia, Myanmar, Senegal, Chad, the Republic of the Congo, and Bangladesh”, the report read.
The report also noted that the governments who restrict social media usually go after communication apps like WhatsApp, Skype, Facebook Messenger, Viber, and social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Recent Cases of Social Media Blocking
Nigeria is the latest country who had blocked access to the social media as the Country’s government on June 5 banned Twitter after the social media site removed a post by President Muhammadu Buhari which was deemed as incitive.
Bangladesh, Republic of the Congo, Senagal, Chad, Myanmar, Russia and Uganda had blocked access to social media in 2021.
Surfshark is a privacy protection toolset developed to provide its users with the ability to control their online presence seamlessly.
The core premise of Surfshark is to humanize online privacy protection and develop tools that protect users’ privacy beyond the realm of a virtual private network.