For two months now, the Cameroon government has brought down the use of social media and messaging apps in some areas. The current shutdown is the second prolonged restriction within 2017. There was a complete shutdown of the internet for 93 days which lasted from January to April 2017. The shutdown was not a government fault since there was no internet access for more than 150 days within the region.
The current restrictions came as a result of the public protest against political and economic discrimination in the Northwest and Southwest region. There was a protest against the dominance of French-speaking government on October 1st which has turned risky with explosives thrown targeting the local security officials. The government believes that the access to the social media might steer up the rifle and lead to the call of splitting the country. Paul Biya, one of the Africans long-serving presidents, believes that the social media platforms are used to organize social and political movements describing it as a new form of terrorism.
The internet shutdowns are messing the Africans economy. The blackout experienced early this year led to low profit to the country’s leading budding technology Silicon Mountain. The company was losing clients and working hours which lead them to move to towns with internet services.
The social media shutdown is also disrupting lives with many failing to locate their family members who were caught in the anti-government demonstrations. The government monopoly in controlling the internet has made some of the companies to fear for the shutdown.
However, the problem experienced in Cameroon is not only in that country but also in countries in Africa. In 2016 eleven African countries disrupted internet communications before general elections in Uganda, during the National Exams in Algeria, and the anti-protests in Ethiopia. The blackouts hence cost Africans many economic problems.