Cybersecurity Study: Ethiopia Blocked Internet Services Seven Times in Five Years

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A study by cybersecurity company Surfshark has revealed that Ethiopia has faced the seventh internet disruption case in the past five years.

Evident restrictions to Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and some WhatsApp and Telegram messaging servers have been reported on Monday. 

Surfshark’s research shows that social media platforms were made inaccessible after 12-th grade national exam papers were allegedly leaked online, although authorities have denied the leakage claims. 

In July 2016, social media sites were blocked across the country after university entrance exams were posted online – a year after, in June 2017, the internet was shut down to curb the leaking of exam papers amid popular anti-government protests.

According to Surfshark, Ethiopia’s political turmoil has gone hand in hand with targeted internet disruptions, including shutdowns and social media blockages. 

Last summer, the country was put into a near-total internet outage for 23 whole days amid ethnic tensions spurred by the assassination of singer and activist Haacaaluu Hundeessaa.

Since 2015, 31 out of 54 countries (57%) in Africa, including Ethiopia, have blocked access to social media platforms. 

The research shows that 54% of affected countries in the region experienced blockings related to elections and 25.8% to political protests. 

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