Sri Lanka Bombings: Government Blocks Social Media After Easter Sunday Attacks

Sri Lankan authorities blocked most social media Following Easter Sunday attacks killed more than 200 people, with officials saying the temporary Movement was meant to curtail the spread of false information and Alleviate tensions.

The defense ministry said the shutdown would expand until the government completes its investigation into the bomb blasts that rocked churches, luxury hotels and other websites.

NetBlocks cautioned that these post-attack blackouts are often ineffective.

“What we have seen is that when social networking is closed down, it creates a vacuum of information that’s easily manipulated by other parties,” said Alp Toker, executive director of the London-based group. “It can increase the sense of fear and can result in panic.”

The group said its observation of Sri Lankan net connectivity found no disruptions to the basic infrastructure of the world wide web, meaning that the blackout was directed at specific services. Some societal media outlets, such as Twitter, appeared unaffected, but the blockage affected popular messaging solutions.

“That’s likely to be a problem for people attempting to communicate with family and friends,” Toker said.

Some net users are bypassing the societal networking cubes by using a virtual private network, which masks the location of a pc, Toker said.

It isn’t the first time Sri Lanka has blocked societal websites. The authorities imposed a weeklong ban in March 2018 due to concerns that WhatsApp and other platforms were being used to enthusiast anti-Muslim violence in the nation’s central region.

An analysis by Sri Lankan researcher and author Yudhanjaya Wijeratne of thousands of Facebook articles made during last year’s ban discovered that many Sri Lankans simply found ways about it. Wijeratne has advocated more and more”technically challenging” approaches to controlling hate speech, such as better detection and strengthening local laws.

Facebook, that owns WhatsApp and Instagram, has struggled recently to combat the utilization of its own platforms to incite violence and spread hate messages and governmental propaganda in nations such as India, Myanmar and the USA.

“We are conscious of the government’s statement concerning the temporary blocking of social media platforms,” the firm said. “People rely upon our solutions to speak with their nearest and dearest and we are dedicated to preserving our solutions and assisting the community and the nation during this tragic time.”

Google did not respond to a request for comment about the disturbance to its own YouTube service in Sri Lanka. Requests for remark made to messaging services Snap and Viber were not returned Sunday.