Several countries have interfered with or banned access to the social networking website Facebook, including Bangladesh, China, Iran, North Korea and Syria. Use of the website has also been restricted in other ways in other countries. As of May 2016, the only countries to ban access around the clock to the social networking site are China, Iran, and North Korea. However, since the vast majority of North Korean residents do not have access to the internet, in reality China and Iran are the only countries where access to Facebook is vigorously restricted in an extensive manner.
Africa has had its fair share of Facebook blocking/ban, It is safe to say African governments aren’t blocking social media to cut off the supply of cute kitten pictures. It’s political.
African governments are blocking social media during elections and times of “crisis” – most recently in Congo-Brazzaville, Chad, Uganda and Ethiopia.
A state of emergency was declared in Ethiopia last week is growing worse by the day. Posting on social the current status of the country or any anti-government posts is now a crime, the government said over the weekend.
To add salt to injury, its now also a crime to watching Oromia Media Network and Ethiopian Satellite Television and Radio, which are ant-government.
Violation of the state of emergency will have a penalty of three to five years in prison .
Under the state of emergency, all expressions or communication that could incite violence have been banned, including the now famous protest gesture of raised hands, crossed at the wrist. Authorities can search and detain citizens without prior approval. Discussing issues with foreigners that could incite violence or communicating with groups deemed terrorists is also illegal.
Listening to Voice of America or German Radio has also been banned. Foreign diplomats have been barred from traveling more than 40km (25 miles) outside of the capital without prior approval. To protect businesses and government property, a 6pm curfew around major infrastructure projects, farms, government institutions, and factories has been put in place.
Zimbabwe has suggested it could go one step further and create its own social networks that the state can monitor. The country’s state owned newspaper the Sunday Mail reports that local web developers are “stitching together” products similar to Facebook, Twitter and Skype “to enable great supervision”.