Social media and messaging apps restricted in Ethiopia amid religious tensions

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.

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.

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.

Further reading:



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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