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Social media restrictions have been lifted in Ethiopia, according to NetBlocks

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NAIROBI, May 17 (Reuters) – Service for the social media platforms Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram has been restored in Ethiopia after being restricted the previous Monday, the internet blocking observatory told NetBlocks.

“Service for affected online platforms in Ethiopia was restored on Monday morning,” said NetBlocks. “We keep watching.”

On Monday before, the London watchdog had announced in a tweet that network data had shown that Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram had been restricted in Ethiopia. Director Alp Toker told Reuters that NetBlocks had heeded restrictions at six locations across Ethiopia.

The head of the Ethiopian Information Network Services Agency, Shumete Gizaw, did not immediately respond to phone calls and text messages on Monday morning for comments.

The state telecommunications monopoly Ethio Telecom, CEO Frehiwot Tamiru, did not immediately respond to phone calls and text messages asking for comments.

Platforms such as Twitter, YouTube, Snapchat, LinkedIn and Reddit are still available, Toker said in an email. Users with access to VPN services were able to bypass the restrictions, he added.

The Ethiopian electoral board said on Saturday that it would hold the general election on the 5th

Internet access in Ethiopia has been restricted during political unrest in the past, including in the northern region of Tigray last year after the military launched an offensive against regional forces attacking their bases there.

After an internet blackout in June 2019, NetBlocks estimated it had cost the country’s economy $ 17 million.

Reporting by Nairobi Newsroom Writing by Omar Mohammed Editing by Maggie Fick and Giles Elgood

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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