Network data confirm the restriction of Facebook, Telegram and TikTok in Ethiopia on Thursday 9 February 2023, with YouTube subsequently restricted on Friday. The incident comes amid anti-government protests sparked by tensions over an attempt to split the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewhado Church.
⚠️ Confirmed: Network metrics show that social media and messaging platforms Facebook, Messenger, TikTok and Telegram have been restricted in #Ethiopia amid anti-government protests over a split in the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewhado Church #EOTC
— NetBlocks (@netblocks) February 9, 2023
Real-time NetBlocks metrics indicate that Facebook, TikTok, and Telegram servers have been restricted on state internet provider Ethio Telecom, and YouTube added to the list on Friday after users switched over to that platform, with aggregated reachability statistics collected from an initial set of 20 vantage points. This class of disruption can be worked around using VPN services, which are able to circumvent government internet censorship measures.
⚠️ Update: Metrics confirm that YouTube has now also been restricted in #Ethiopia. The incident comes as authorities cut access to social media amid protests and deaths over an apparent state attempt to divide the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.
— NetBlocks (@netblocks) February 10, 2023
What’s happening in Ethiopia?
Protests relating to tensions over pressures on the EOTC have sparked wider anti-government sentiment. Ethiopia has an history of social media restrictions during protests, although authorities do not generally announce the measure.
NetBlocks recommends against the use of internet filtering due to its disproportionate impact on the public’s right to freely access and impart knowledge.
- Social media restricted in Ethiopia after church rift turns violent – Reuters
- Addis Clamps Social Media After Turmoil – VOA
- Ethiopia’s social media blocked amid church split tensions – AP
- Ethiopia Orthodox Church split: Social media restricted – BBC
- Eight Killed In Ethiopia Church Attacks: Rights Body – AFP
- Netblocks announces ban on several social media platforms in Ethiopia – BBC Oromo
- Facebook, WhatsApp and other services restricted in Ethiopia after exam paper leak
- Internet disrupted in Ethiopia as conflict breaks out in Tigray region
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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