The Global Cost of Internet Shutdowns index tracks the the total economic impact of every major internet blackout and social media shutdown around the world as it happens.
As well as the live tracker showing the total cost of disruptions for the year to date, you can access annual reports dating back to 2019. Use the page navigation to jump to the relevant section to see that year’s key findings and a link to the annual report, or use the following links to jump straight to those sections:
- The Global Cost of Internet Shutdowns Live Tracker 2021
- The Global Cost of Internet Shutdowns in 2020
- The Global Cost of Internet Shutdowns in 2019
From 2020 onwards, our data includes additional human rights abuses perpetrated during these disruptions to illustrate the wider context of these incidents.
We calculate the economic impact of disruptions using the COST tool by collating every national and region-wide incident globally, and determining the duration and extent of the restrictions.
In both our live tracker and annual reports, we include social media shutdowns, internet blackouts and severe throttling in our calculations. These types of disruption are defined as follows:
- Internet blackouts: where internet access is completely cut off. This extreme measure cannot be directly circumvented.
- Social media shutdowns: where access to popular social media, such as Facebook, WhatsApp or Twitter has been blocked. These can typically be circumvented by using a VPN.
- Severe throttling: where speeds have been reduced to 2G, which permits the use of SMS and voice calls only. This is an internet blackout in all but name.
Our goal in doing this work is to keep public attention focused on just how damaging internet shutdowns truly are. This damage is both direct, in terms of the economic and human cost, and indirect, in that it forces people to use unsafe VPNs to try to circumvent the restrictions imposed upon them. We are also investigating the companies that provide the technology that make shutdowns possible.
Additional references can viewed in this Source Appendix document.