5 African countries censored the internet 13 times in 2022, report

A new report by Surfshark in partnership with internet watchdog NetBlocks has revealed that nearly a third of a billion Africans were affected by internet shutdowns in 2022. 

The report, which was released on Thursday notes that 5 African countries censored the internet 13 times with Sudan taking the lead by disruption count (4), followed by Burkina Faso (3) and Zimbabwe (3), Sierra Leone (2) and Somalia (1). 

Burkina Faso restricted Facebook in January. The restriction continued into 2023 making it the longest in the world. 

Of all social media platforms, the report says Facebook is the most hated by autocratic governments and remains highly censored in 2022. In fact, since 2015, a staggering 46% of the global population has, in some way or another, been affected by government-imposed Facebook restrictions.

“Through the past year, we’ve seen how governments have used internet shutdowns and telecommunications blackouts as a tool of repression and control, silencing journalists, civil society, and the general public. Internet connectivity today underpins all human rights, which is why it’s more critical than ever to document mass-censorship incidents and find ways to get people reconnected.” Alp Toker, Director, NetBlocks says.

Internet censorship remains a common technique used by autocratic governments to isolate their citizens from the outside world.

Top10VPN, a London-based research firm that keeps tabs on internet privacy, security, and freedom in a recent separate report also indicated that the global economy lost $23.79 billion to internet shutdowns in 2022, an increase of 323% from $5.62 billion recorded in 2021.

Sub-Saharan Africa recorded losses worth $261 million from 9532 hours of internet shutdowns that affected 132.2 million people.

Out of the 23 countries across the world that the report evaluated, Africa had Ethiopia, Nigeria, Sudan, Burkina Faso, Algeria, Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone and Somaliland.

The report by Surfshark shows that 4.2 billion people were affected by mass internet censorship in 2022 globally. Asia accounted for nearly half of all new cases in 2022, while Africa comes in second.

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Nixon Kanali

Tech journalist based in Nairobi. I track and report on tech and African startups. Founder and Editor of TechTrends Media. Nixon is also the East African tech editor for Africa Business Communities. Send tips to

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