A small but increasing group of African governments is blocking social media during elections. The BBC’s Clare Spencer asks why and how this is done and how people get around it:
Why are African governments blocking social media?
It is safe to say governments aren’t blocking social media to cut off the supply of cute kitten pictures.
It’s political [as the NED’s Center for International Media Assistance has noted].
African tweeters tend to be more political than tweeters in other continents, according to research by Portland Communications.
And governments are blocking social media during elections – most recently in Congo-Brazzaville, Chad and Uganda.
For an indication of the political impact social media can make, you just need to look at the uprisings during the “Arab Spring”.
“Social media did not cause the ‘Arab Spring’ but helped to co-ordinate it,” Arthur Goldstuck from technology market research company Worldwide Worx, told the BBC.