African governments restrict social media to stop dissent

Restricting social media access is one way that African governments use to stop dissent, with another being completely shutting down the internet. They typically do these during elections and protests.

“The practice of limiting social media access is usually the product of anti-democratic governments seeking to suppress citizens’ freedom,” the tracker says.

The results are far-reaching, as these actions conceal human rights violations, restrict access to information and negatively impact businesses.

According to the Surfshark tracker, at least 16 African countries have restricted social media access in the past due to elections and at least seven have done so due to protests and demonstrations.

This year alone, at least four African countries—Uganda, Senegal, Nigeria, and the Democratic Republic of Congo— have restricted social media access.

Globally, about one third of countries have restricted social media since 2015. The tracker notes that restriction of social media access is particularly prevalent in countries where state authorities own or control the internet infrastructure.

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