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Social Media censorship drops 35 percent in 2021, still high in Africa

Social Media censorship drops 35 percent in 2021, still high in Africa

The rate of social media censorship has decreased by 35 percent globally in 2021 from the numbers in the previous year.

An annual report carried out by Surfshark, a cybersecurity company showed that cases of social media restrictions reduced from 29 in 2020 down to 19 in 2021 representing 35 percent of global decrease.

The report noted that despite the decrease, Africa contributed to nearly 53 percent of the total social media censorship globally in 2021.

According to the report, internet disruptions were recorded in 17 countries and affected no fewer than 250 million people globally despite the known decrease in social media cases in 2021.

However, surfshank stated that most social media bans and shutdowns were recorded as a result of fallout during politics and protests.

“In terms of politics, 2021 has been more stable than 2020, albeit still far from ideal. However, countries are evidently not afraid to pull the trigger on social media in areas of political turmoil. This is still especially true in Africa and Asia. And while this year showed a positive turn with fewer social media bans, it is yet to be seen whether the trend will continue in 2022 and beyond,” Vytautas Kaziukonis, CEO of Surfshark said.

Read also: Social Media can play definitive role in Nigeria’s transformation, economic growth – Adesina

Kaziukonis explained that millions of people were out of communication as a result of incidents in times of political distress and global pandemic and the research shows that 250 million people were affected during the restrictions.

Surfshark report shows that during elections in 2021, social media shutdown was recorded mainly from Congo, Uganda, and Zambia in the African continent.

Meanwhile, Chad blocked the internet following a raid at the property of Yaya Dillo who is a representative of Chad’s government opposition on February 28, before their presidential election.

Contributing to the shutdown, Ethiopia claimed that their social media restriction was due to leaked 12-grade exam papers while some said that it was a result of rebels forcing claims to have seized strategic towns.

The research said that the shutdowns always target applications like Whatsapp, Facebook messenger, Skype, viber, and platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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. Surfshark is one of the very few VPNs that have been audited by independent security experts.