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A study conducted by Surfshark, a privacy protection company, shows how South Sudan has become the 67th country to have restricted social media access over the last six years.

The internet disruption comes amid planned protests, which is calling for the leadership to resign. Cutting off social media access is a common practice in African countries, especially during elections, protests, demonstrations, or exams. The researchers revealed that at least 31 countries in Africa have blocked or heavily restricted social media access since 2015.

The research shows that in 2021 alone, there were eleven political cases of internet disruption across the world in Uganda, Russia, Myanmar, Senegal, Chad, the Republic of the Congo, and Bangladesh, Nigeria, Cuba, Zambia, and recently - South Sudan.

Over the last six years, at least 17 countries in Africa alone have had restricted access to social media due to elections and 8 due to protests.  

Internet censorship has seen prominent growth worldwide, especially in Asian and African regions, and even more so recently during elections and other political events. 

These governments usually go after communication apps like WhatsApp, Skype, Facebook Messenger, Viber, and social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Most internet censorship and social media restriction cases in Africa have to do with riots, protests, elections, and other events of political nature.

The data was collected through open-source information from Freedom House, Netblocks, and reputable news reports from 2015 to the present day. Social media was conceptualised as social networking sites (i.e., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, etc.) and communication apps, including VoIP apps (i.e., Skype, WhatsApp, Telegram, Viber). Both local and national social media blockings have been taken into account in the study. 

The final social media censorship report with regional deep-dives can be found here: surfshark

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