Recently Nigeria was in the news for joining the list of countries that have blocked or banned Twitter for their citizens. Banning or blocking social media is not a new thing. Many regimes with distaste for human rights, free speech have either blocked the use of Twitter on their territory or banned the citizens from using or accessing the social media platform.
This is because Twitter is usually the most radical of the various social media platforms available. It’s very nature attracts outspoken citizens and criticism. It breaks new and makes information go viral. This can be a nightmare to governments who thrive on control of news and information.
So we have compiled an extensive list of countries that have either blocked or banned the use of Twitter. If you find yourself travelling to any of these countries you should be sure to get a VPN to tunnel your internet access as that will be the only way to access Twitter.
- Nigeria: Nigeria became the latest country to ban/block Twitter for its citizens. This came after the country’s President, Muhammadu Buhari had one incendiary tweet deleted after thousands of Nigerians reported the tweet. The government in a matter of days announced a blanket ban of Twitter in the country. It claimed to ban Twitter for ‘undermining the country’s corporate existence.’ While there are news in some quarters of talks between Twitter and the Nigerian government it is not clear yet how long the ban will be in place
- China: China has a very strong grip on social media censorship as the country has not only blocked Twitter but several other social media platforms especially ones with western roots. Other social media platforms blocked in China include Facebook, Reddit, Instagram and many more. While Twitter remains banned in China a report from the New York Times show that there are still users in small but active communities using special software to access the platform. However these users face detention and threats if discovered.
- Iran: Iran practices some degree of social media censorship. Reports indicate that Twitter, as well as Facebook, has been banned since 2009 though many Iranians find ways to still use them. In a report on Iranian censorship the Express UK reported that Twitter was banned for ordinary Iranians though top government officials still use it.
- North Korea: In 2016 North Korean government started to block Twitter for ‘concerns with the spread of online information’. Anyone who tries to access it without official permission from the government including foreign visitors and residents, is subject to punishment. The government doesn’t allow citizens use the internet as we know it, rather it makes available a heavily restricted and walled off intranet.
- Turkmenistan: Turkmenistan is one of the world’s most isolated regimes. The ex-soviet republic has blocked western services including Twitter, Facebook, Whatsapp along with some popular Russian networks – Odnoklassniki and VKontakte. The country is constantly at the bottom of global rights and press freedom rankings
There have been other countries who have periodically and sporadically blocked social media or even the internet in the past for various reasons. Egypt cut off access to Twitter during the Arab spring protests, Turkey banned Twitter for 2 weeks in 2014, Uganda suspended access to social media during an election earlier in 2021 and Pakistan has sporadically blocked access to social media for brief periods.
You may want to check out our post on Countries where cryptocurrency is blocked or banned