Where has social media been restricted?

The map below shows which countries have been affected by social media/messaging app restrictions since 2015.

Currently restricting access
Restricted access in the past
No evidence
62 out of 196 analyzed countries and territories have disrupted social media/messaging apps since 2015, affecting more than 70% of the global population.
Most long-term social media/messaging app disruption cases have been registered in Asia. 67% of countries currently restricting services are located in Asia.

How many people have been affected?

The scope of social media and messaging app restrictions is staggering. The chart below shows how many people were deprived of access to specific platforms.

Facebook is the most common social media platform to be restricted by governments. 46% of the global population has been affected by government-imposed Facebook disruptions.
Whatsapp is the most common messaging app to be restricted by governments. 45% of the global population has been affected by government-imposed Whatsapp disruptions.

What causes social media restrictions?

The Internet Shutdown Tracker records cases of politically-motivated social media and messaging app restrictions and distinguishes the cause for each case. Below, restrictions of 6 different platforms have been broken down by cause.

Protests are one of the leading causes of social media disruptions. Facebook alone has been disrupted 33 times since 2015 amid protests.
Telegram and Whatsapp are often permanently restricted due to internet laws banning VoIP as a service that makes the use of messaging apps illegal.

When was social media restricted?

The chart below shows social media/messaging app restrictions by region in six-month increments.

Over the last 5 years, at least 46 governments have imposed social media/messaging app restrictions. On average, 13 countries do so each year.
1 country has already done that in 2024 so far, which is less than the 5-year average.