During the first half of 2023, Facebook continued to encounter significant restrictions in several countries, including Ethiopia, Guinea, Senegal, Pakistan, and Suriname. These nations have a history of government-imposed internet restrictions, leading to limitations on access to the social media platform.
Sharing the second spot on the list of most-blocked social platforms were Telegram, Instagram, and YouTube, each facing restrictions in four countries. Meanwhile, WhatsApp and Twitter shared the third spot, with each platform experiencing restrictions in three countries.
TikTok, a popular video-sharing app, faced restrictions in only one country during the first half of the year, namely Ethiopia. However, the report indicates that the United States is progressing towards becoming the eighth country to ban the platform.
Globally, there was a 31% decline in new internet disruption cases during H1 2023 compared to the same period in the previous year. However, the number of countries imposing these restrictions increased from 13 to 14.
Asia emerged as the leader in internet disruptions worldwide, accounting for 71% of new global cases. Approximately 2.35 billion people experienced internet censorship during the year, according to the Surfshark report.
The report highlights a significant decrease in global restrictions, mainly attributed to the decline in cases from Jammu and Kashmir, which dropped from 35 in H1 2022 to just 2 in the same period in 2023.
As internet restrictions continue to impact digital accessibility across various regions, concerns about online freedom and information dissemination remain at the forefront of discussions. The global landscape calls for a careful balance between regulatory measures and preserving open internet access for users worldwide.