Instagram and Periscope restricted in Venezuela as Guaido discusses aid committees

Network data shows that Venezuela’s state-run internet provider ABA CANTV (AS8048) restricted access to Instagram and Periscope 16:45 UTC (12:45 VET 27 April 2019) up until 17:10 UTC (13:10 VET 27 April 2019), for just under half an hour. The nationwide block coincides with a live-streamed speech by Juan Guaidó from Plaza Brión in Chacaíto, Caracas.

Findings are based on 550 network measurements taken across Venezuela. Unlike previous recent episodes of social media filtering, YouTube was only briefly affected but then restored, and unrelated Google services were not affected in this instance.

During the censored speech, Guaido discussed work to organize delivery of aid, and raised concerns over prevalent state media censorship of TV and radio broadcast media, highlighting the importance of social media in keeping citizens informed.

The outage marks the continuation of ongoing ephemeral, or intermittent internet censorship imposed by the state appearing to target critical speech. Data are consistent with previous targeted disruptions during public appearances by Juan Guaidó, and during sessions of Venezuela’s National Assembly.

Venezuela saw a remission in ephemeral network filtering during the nationwide power outages through March. News media and campaign website filters remained in place throughout that period and intermittent censorship resumed even as much of the country remained offline due to chronic power grid failures.

Past incidents of network filtering in Venezuela have lasted from twelve minutes to over twenty hours, when YouTube was restricted hours before the country’s first nationwide power outage. Network data indicates that the platform disruptions are consistent with methods used to block online content in Venezuela.


Methodology

Internet performance and service reachability are determined via NetBlocks web probe privacy-preserving analytics. Each measurement consists of latency round trip time, outage type and autonomous system number aggregated in real-time to assess service availability and latency in a given country. Network providers and locations are enumerated as vantage point pairs. The root cause of a service outage may be additionally corroborated by means of traffic analysis and manual testing as detailed in the report.


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