Government Internet Shutdowns Bring Huge Economic Costs

Government Internet Shutdowns Bring Huge Economic Costs

technology By Jan 04, 2024 No Comments

Government Internet Shutdowns Bring Huge Economic Costs

The impact of government internet shutdowns on the global economy cannot be overstated. According to a new report, these shutdowns have led to significant financial repercussions, reaching a staggering $9.01 billion over the past year.

Extent of Shutdowns and Their Consequences

Throughout the previous year, a total of 196 major self-imposed Internet outages occurred in 25 countries, as revealed by research from Top10VPN. These shutdowns had various forms, including total Internet blackouts, social media blocks, and Internet throttling.

Government Internet outages have far-reaching consequences on not just freedom, but also on the economic landscape. Many of these outages were associated with human rights abuses, particularly restrictions on freedom of assembly.

Impact on Countries and Communities

The economic effects of internet shutdowns were particularly noticeable in Russia, Ethiopia, and Iran. The Russian ban on major social media platforms, including Instagram, facebook, and Twitter, accounted for the highest economic cost, exceeding $4 billion in 2023 alone.

Furthermore, the significant financial losses incurred due to these shutdowns emphasize the grave impact on both the national economies and the citizens’ digital rights. The length of these outages increased by 18% in 2023, underscoring their persistent and damaging nature.

Human Rights and Economic Implications

The deliberate disruption of Internet access serves as a form of extreme censorship and represents an infringement on citizens’ digital rights. Apart from restricting freedom, these outages also constitute acts of national economic self-harm.

The economic assessment of these outages was carried out using the Cost tool developed by Internet monitoring NGO Netblocks, drawing upon indicators from various international organizations. This methodology provided comprehensive insights into the economic ramifications of such shutdowns.

Focus on Specific Regions

Iraq witnessed the largest number of internet outages, primarily related to school exams, while the longest outage, lasting over 5,000 hours, occurred in Manipur, india. These statistics highlight the extensive reach of internet disruptions and their disruptive impact on communities.

Notably, the ongoing Internet outages in Gaza, characterized by multiple major blackouts, also pose significant challenges. Despite the difficulty in quantifying their economic impact due to the broader financial repercussions of conflict, these shutdowns undoubtedly inflict severe damage.

Rising Costs and Unpredictable Consequences

Although the total cost of Internet shutdowns decreased by 67% in 2023 compared to the previous year, it was still a 45% increase from 2021. Moreover, the duration of these outages surged by 18% from 2022 and a substantial 71.5% from 2021, signifying their growing and unpredictable nature.

On the front of social media platforms, Twitter, formerly known as X, was the most frequently blocked, facing deliberate disruptions for 10,683 hours. This represented an 18% increase compared to Instagram and a 26% increase compared to TikTok.


The economic repercussions of government Internet shutdowns are immense and extend far beyond their initial scope. They not only impede citizens’ digital rights but also inflict considerable damage on national economies.

Recognizing the escalating severity of these outages and their diverse consequences, it is crucial to address and mitigate their impact on both individual freedoms and global financial stability.

Source: forbes

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