Since 2015, around 62 countries worldwide have blocked or at least restricted access to social networks. This is the result of the online privacy and security company Surfshark’s study of 185 nations. Currently, about three percent of the countries surveyed block access to social media and communication apps – all of them are in Asia. In China, North Korea, Turkmenistan and Iran, it is mainly foreign social networks such as Twitter and Facebook that are blocked. It should be noted that China has its own national ecosystem of social networks and communication apps. Qatar and the United Arab Emirates restrict the use of internet calls through voice-over IPs.
According to the analysts, such restrictions are often linked to undemocratic governments. Consequently, African and Asian countries have restricted access most frequently in the past five years. However, in most cases, the restrictions are temporary. Recent cases of censorship include Cuban social media blockades during protests in Havana on November 30, 2020 or Azerbaijan’s access restrictions during the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in September.