Social Media Blocked in Zambia during Presidential Election

The Zambian government has restricted access to social media and messaging platforms such as WhatsApp, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook during its presidential elections.

Internet monitoring site Netblocks reported that Internet providers in Zambia such as Zambian government-owned Zamtel, Airtel Zambia, Liquid Telecom, and MTN  have blocked social media platforms locally as citizens waited to cast their vote. 

“WhatsApp messaging app restricted in #Zambia on election day; real-time network data show loss of service on multiple internet providers as polls get underway, corroborating widespread user reports; incident ongoing #ZambiaDecides2021,” said Netblocks.

Zambian local media has already reported earlier this month that Zambia’s Ministry of Information and Broadcast Services considered cutting internet access in the lead-up to election day to allegedly stop the spread of election misinformation.

Information and Broadcasting Services Permanent Secretary Amos Malupenga initially denied the reports but has not released a statement on the current outage. 

”Social media might spark a lot of violence. If social media is not responsibly used then it can cause a lot of harm to our country especially at this time when results will be announced,” explained Zambian police spokeswoman Esther Katongo but did not mention the block. 

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