After banning Twitter in June 2021, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has officially lifted all restrictions placed on the microblogging service at midnight, January 13. With his decision, the number of countries currently blocking the social media site has shrunk to just four as our chart indicates.
The list of nations still firm on their stance of severely restricting or blocking Twitter comes as no surprise. China has officially banned all foreign social media platforms since 2009, while North Korea instated a ban on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter in 2016. In January 2021, Iran announced its plans to block the messaging app Signal, adding to several social media sites currently unavailable in the Middle Eastern country, including Twitter. The fourth entry on the list, Turkmenistan, has been blocking not only the microblogging site and other social media outlets, but opposition websites and foreign news outlets since at least 2018.
Overall, 36 countries worldwide, with the majority located in the Middle Eastern, Asian, and African regions, had or still have explicit Twitter bans in place. These bans or access restrictions often coincide with civil unrest and elections according to extensive data analysis by Surfshark. One of the most prominent examples of this in recent history was the Egyptian revolution in 2011 tied to the widespread Arab Spring movement, where either the government or service providers prevented users from accessing Twitter to hinder coordination of protesters. Naturally, this doesn't mean that the service is or was completely unreachable in the aforementioned countries. Residents are still able to use VPN software to access blocked sites, although speed and connection stability might be limited.