Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, YouTube, Viber, Snapchat and Facebook Messenger have been blocked in Sri Lanka following a series of scheduled bombings targeting churches and hotels in Sri Lanka, according to NetBlocks network measurement data. The incident is ongoing at time of writing.
Confirmed: Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, YouTube, Viber, Snapchat and Messenger blocked in #SriLanka following series of deadly church and hotel attacks; incident ongoing #EasterSundayAttacksLK #KeepItOn ⬇️https://t.co/xp4hSxvFOi pic.twitter.com/dcQ6COsWKB
— NetBlocks.org (@netblocks) April 21, 2019
The NetBlocks findings, collected with assistance from volunteers across Sri Lanka, are consistent with and corroborate user reports complaining of difficulty accessing the online platforms.
Updated network data 11:50 AM UTC 22 April indicate that the services remain blocked, with the addition of the website of a VPN service that could be used to circumvent the restrictions:
Update: Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, YouTube, Viber, Snapchat and Messenger have been blocked in #SriLanka over 24 hours following yesterday's deadly attacks. VPN service Tunnelbear's website is now also restricted #EasterSundayAttacksLK #KeepItOn ⬇️https://t.co/xp4hSxvFOi pic.twitter.com/9LM5NOjUen
— NetBlocks.org (@netblocks) April 22, 2019
Concerns have been raised over the impact to citizens’s ability to communicate and impart information in the midst of crisis. Many Sri Lankan internet users are complaining about difficulty checking up on friends and family following the attacks.
Sri Lanka’s government announced a curfew in the aftermath of the incidents to start from 6:00 PM local time, although the internet restrictions have been implemented before the given time.
Sri Lanka previously blocked social media for over a week after violence broke out in March 2018.
NetBlocks is a civil society group working at the intersection of digital rights, cyber-security and internet governance. Independent and non-partisan, NetBlocks strives for an open and inclusive digital future for all.