On Sunday night, social media platforms in Pakistan encountered a significant disruption, as reported by internet watchdog Netblocks. The outage impacted popular services including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, as well as some VPNs and messaging apps. Netblocks noted that the disruption began around 8 pm, coinciding with a virtual rally by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), which was being live-streamed on social media.
Users in major cities such as Lahore, Karachi, Islamabad, and others faced difficulties accessing the platforms and reported slow internet speeds. This incident is not the first time Pakistan has experienced internet disruptions or censorship. The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has previously blocked websites like YouTube, TikTok, and PUBG for reasons ranging from blasphemy to security concerns. Additionally, the PTA has directed internet service providers to throttle or shut down internet services in specific areas during protests or political unrest.
These actions have been criticized by digital rights activists and civil society groups, who argue that such measures violate the freedom of expression and access to information for millions of Pakistanis. Internet censorship and disruptions continue to be subjects of debate, with concerns raised about their impact on democratic values and individual liberties.