NetBlocks metrics confirm the disruption of Twitter, Facebook and YouTube on multiple internet providers in Pakistan on Tuesday 9 May 2023. Additionally, total internet shutdowns have been observed on mobile networks in some regions. The disruptions come amid the arrest of former Prime Minister Imran Khan.
⚠️ Update: In addition to social media restrictions, real-time network data show that total internet shutdowns are now in effect in some regions of #Pakistan; the disruptions have been imposed amid the arrest of former Prime Minister Imran Khan
— NetBlocks (@netblocks) May 9, 2023
Real-time network data show the disruption in effect on some but not all mobile and fixed-line internet providers in Pakistan at the time of writing. The study is taken from a sample size of 120 measurements from 60 vantage points across Pakistan. This class of disruption can be worked around using VPN services, which are able to circumvent government internet censorship measures. However, the mobile broadband disruptions cannot be circumvented and will be experienced as a total internet shutdown by those affected.
The observed disruptions have continued into Thursday, in some cases intensifying, with hundreds of protesters reportedly detained during the information blackout. Some Instagram servers have also become unreachable from Wednesday.
⚠️ Update: Metrics show internet blackouts and social media restrictions remain in place in #Pakistan; the measures were imposed on Tuesday amid the arrest of former PM Imran Khan and continue to limit the public's right to stay informed 📵
— NetBlocks (@netblocks) May 10, 2023
NetBlocks recommends against the use of network disruptions and social media restrictions to limit political speech, given their disproportionate impact to fundamental rights including freedom of expression and freedom of assembly.
- Wikipedia restricted in Pakistan over alleged “sacrilegious” content
- YouTube disrupted in Pakistan as former PM Khan streams speech
- Internet disrupted in Pakistan as ousted PM’s mass rally takes to streets
- Former Pakistan PM Imran Khan arrested, stirring nationwide violence – Reuters
- Social media restricted in Pakistan amid protests over ex-PM Khan’s arrest: Watchdog – AA
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.
NetBlocks diffscans, which map the IP address space of a country in real time, show internet connectivity levels and corresponding outages. Purposeful internet outages may have a distinct network pattern used by NetBlocks to determine and attribute the root cause of an outage, a process known as attribution which follows detection and classification stages.
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