Social media has become one of the primary ways we connect with others, as well as giving us tiny windows into new places and cultures. It can be fun to spend an afternoon watching videos of strangers strolling in a foreign marketplace or see curated snapshots of a mountain sunset halfway around the world. Not all countries, however, share the same view of social media. Some, like China, are well-known for their strict internet censorship. Other places, however, may surprise you. For example, did you know that Germany once considered banning Facebook Events? Or that YouTube was banned for nine years in Pakistan, and is still banned in Eritrea?
In most cases, these bans are limited to government workers due to data privacy concerns, but more and more governments are looking into restrictions on who can use social media, and when. Laws are being introduced to keep minors off apps in many countries, citing the negative effects of constant image consumption and potential for bullying. In one of the most surprising new cases, the entire state of Montana in the United States banned TikTok in 2023. Even in countries that don’t legally limit social media, there may be other restrictions, such as a tax for access in Uganda.
Before you send employees on assignment, or take on one yourself, make sure there aren’t any issues with censorship, particularly if your company culture relies on any kind of social media. Even Slack may not operate everywhere, as seen in 2018 when users lost access after visiting places such as Cuba and Syria.
Even if you scan social media to peruse global events, turn to Living Abroad for vetted information about daily life in more than 150 destinations. We touch on major censorship issues, and let you know the popular ways to keep in touch, be they Whatsapp or old-fashioned letters.
Written by Kate Havas, GMS-T, Content Manager