Internet censorship

When it comes to online censorship, restricting individual platforms isn’t that effective because people can always find alternatives. That’s why some countries use the nuclear option of disrupting the internet altogether. This page is meant for tracking such cases specifically.

Where has the internet been censored?

China flag

China

There is no evidence of internet disruptions in means of censorship.

2,719,752,219
Users deprived of internet access
51
Countries that have disrupted access to internet
51 out of 196 analyzed countries and territories had shut down the internet at least once since 2015, affecting more than 30% of the global population.
Countries tend to restrict the internet on a national level: only 17 out of 51 countries choose to shut down the internet in a smaller region when compared to 61% of countries that mostly carried out nationwide disruptionss.

Why is the internet censored?

There are several reasons why a country would shut down the internet. This chart lists them by frequency, thus allowing us to determine the most “popular” ones.

The most common reason for local internet shutdowns is political turmoil in a region. India and its administered Jammu and Kashmir make up most (approximately 90%) of these cases.
Even though nationwide internet outages disrupt countries’ economies the most, at least 87 registered cases of internet shutdown were due to protests, elections, or other political turmoil in 37 countries.

When was the internet censored?

This chart shows the instances of internet blackouts in six-month increments.

Over the last 5 years, at least 44 governments have imposed internet blackouts over their citizens. On average, 16 countries each year.
0 countries have already done that in 2023 so far, which is less than the 5-year average. This might suggest that governments are switching to measures that are less likely to affect the country’s economy — such as restricting specific websites.