June’s been an eventful month for China, Africa, and the internet. On June 5th, Nigeria’s government suspended the use of Twitter in the country, indefinitely. The next day, the Foundation for Investigative Journalism reported that the Nigerian government had also reached out to the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), enlisting help to build Nigeria’s very own ‘great firewall’, a term used to describe the series of digital barriers China’s internet regulators have set in place to restrict access to the internet.
It’s hard to believe now but there was a time when China’s internet was also more…free. Internet restriction in China has been a gradual process. Back before China’s regulators understood the power of free and open internet access, platforms like YouTube and Google were easily accessible within the country. Weibo, one of China’s biggest microblogging platforms, was a site of political discourse, and internet organizers were wielding the web to create an environment for social change.
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