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Social Media blocked in Ethiopia

Posted on July 10,2016
Last updated on July 11,2016 , 8:42 a.m. EST

Reports in social media indicate that popular social media plat form,Facebook, is blocked in Ethiopia starting today.

Users are seemingly unable to access Facebook in the capital Addis Ababa. Chances are that users in other towns outside of Addis Ababa are likely not to have access to it as well.

Viber, long distance free call application is also blocked as per social media news update from Ethiopia.

pretext given to social media blockade is Secondary School Leaving Examination. In fact, examination was stolen at the end of May this year by radical Oromo activists and posted on Facebook. Last week, the rescheduled exam was stolen again.

There are voices who think that social media blockade has little to do with Secondary School Leaving Certificate Examination.

Rather, observers says that quite significant portion of Ethiopia’s security budget goes to online surveillance. In April 2015, SPAMfighter reported,citing the web page – “TheHill” , that Ethiopian government used cyber attacks against media out lets like Ethiopian Satellite Televion (ESAT). The purpose, according to the report, is to prevent Ethiopians from getting information from opposition voices.

Usually, what the Ethiopian government does is to place spyware in the computers of people with opposition voices in the diaspora. There was a court case between the government of Ethiopia and a US citizen of Ethiopian origin sometime in 2015.

In an effort to bypass Facebook and viber blockade, users in Ethiopia are using proxy servers to login to their social media account. Opera browser is said to be helpful as well.

Ethiopia is one of the African countries with least number of internet users. Only an estimated 1 % of the population which is about a million people has access to internet.

Cover Photo : bdnews24


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