More than 4 billion people worldwide, with about a third of a billion in Africa, were affected by internet outages in 2022, according to Surfshark’s internet censorship report.

Asia accounted for almost half of all new cases in 2022, while Africa was second, the report said.

Surfshark’s Annual Internet Censorship Summary is an internet censorship trail developed by Surfshark in partnership with NetBlocks to track partial and complete internet and social media blackouts in 196 countries and territories since 2015.

According to the report, Africa was the second most intensive continent for internet censorship after Asia, showing that in addition to years of restrictions, five countries on the continent censored the internet 13 times in 2022.

The leader in the number of Internet outages is Sudan, with a record of four outages, followed by Burkina Faso, which had three. Zimbabwe had three interceptions, while Sierra Leone and Somalia recorded two interceptions and one interception respectively.

Meanwhile, Asia continued to lead the way in internet outages, with 11 countries reporting new internet outages in 2022, bringing all outages to a total of 58. Burkina Faso’s restriction was the longest in the world with continued restrictions on Facebook, followed by Russia and Azerbaijan.

Russia’s Twitter, Facebook and Instagram outages followed the country’s invasion of Ukraine. The country also blocked access to major international news sites, the report said.

Surfshark spokesperson Gabriele Rakaitite-Krasauske was quoted as saying: “Last year, more than half of the world’s population was affected by Internet censorship. Many of these cases involved complete Internet outages at the local or national level.

“These can be devastating and extremely dangerous, especially during times of war, protests or violent government repression.”

Racaityte-Krasauske said internet restrictions can prevent people from mobilizing to defend democracy and prevent them from contacting loved ones, accessing news sites and sharing information with the outside world.

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