By first throttling and then blocking access to social media sites and news outlets, Russia has caused the most expensive internet blockage of 2022. This is according to tech company Top 10 VPN. The service puts the economic cost at $21.6 billion in the country between the invasion of Ukraine in February and the end of the year. Since the blockages are countrywide, the large number of people affected causes the high price tag.
The estimated cost of restricting the internet puts Russia ahead of second-ranked Iran, where last year, prolonged anti-government protests were met with excessive force and repeated internet shutdowns by those in power. Almost 72 million people were affected by this at an economic cost of $773 million. Kazakhstan comes third after internet shutdowns following early-2022 protests over fuel prices caused upwards of $400 million in economic damage.
Myanmar is the country which shut down the internet for the longest time in 2022: More than 17,500 hours. The shutdowns are targeted – mostly to the country’s Western Chin state at the border with Bangladesh – and were rated as the fourth most costly.
Nigeria lifted its Twitter ban at the beginning of the year, but it still affected more than 100 million people in the entire country in January and racked up an economic cost of $83 million. Ethiopia last year saw long shutdowns of almost 9,000 hours. Again, as authorities were targeting the civil war-ridden Tigray region, fewer people were affected and costs stayed around $146 million despite the ongoing nature of the restrictions.