How and Why Some Governments Block Certain Apps and Websites

 Credit: Artsakh Koshgerian

Credit: Artsakh Koshgerian

Are you living in a country where certain apps and websites get blocked from time to time? A lot of governments practice what is known as internet censorship. It is the control of what can be accessed, published, or viewed on the Internet. Note that this is different from self-censorship where people quit using certain apps and websites for moral, religious, or business reasons.

Most democratic countries have moderate internet censorship, while others go as far as to limit the access to news. In some other countries, certain messaging and calling apps get shut down or blocked. While some people use VPN, others don’t even know about its existence. Or sometimes VPN does not help, either. We’ll explore this in more detail below, but let’s first see which are the most Internet-censored countries in the world:

North Korea

This country is number one among those practicing internet censorship. Only about 4% of the entire population has access to the Internet. And only 7% has got cell phones. Only a few very powerful and wealthy people have access to the web. Most citizens can only access a super-controlled intranet.


China is another big censor of the Internet. Although the population uses the Internet broadly, there exists the practice of blocking IPs or filtering the search queries to show only everything pro-China.

Saudi Arabia

This is one of the top countries that hate it when their citizens browse the web. The reasons behind this can be varied ranging from religious to social and political.

Some other countries that usually block certain apps and websites are the following:

  • Myanmar (Burma)
  • Syria
  • UAE
  • Vietnam
  • Tunisia
  • Turkey
  • Iran

Censorship of social media sites

While there are a bunch of countries censoring the media and the overall access to the Internet, only a few countries block social media. The most alarming is Turkey’s case. It blocks Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube quite often. Turkey — a member of NATO and prospective member of the EU!

Censorship of mobile apps, especially messengers

The blocking of certain mobile apps, especially mobile messengers is mainly connected with the political situation in a country. Usually, governments block messengers to stop the political discourse or the public conversations. For example, messengers like Telegram and Signal usually get blocked in Iran especially during protests or events of social activism.

What is the solution?

If you are in North Korea where only the intranet is being used, then you have nearly no chances of connecting to the world. But if you are in a country where there IS Internet, then you can use VPN to unblock apps and websites. However, VPN itself can be blocked, too. So, you should be careful when choosing which VPN service provider to choose. As for the messengers, you can choose a unique messenger that does not get blocked wherever you are. It’s called Pinngle. Due to its unique algorithm, Pinngle makes it nearly impossible for governments to block it. Or if they manage to do so, the app goes back to normal within minutes.

So, you now know why and how governments block some apps and websites. And you also know how to overcome blocking. 😉

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