Internet blackouts, social media shutdowns & government bandwidth throttling cost the global economy $ 5.5 billion in 2021, according to an annual report by the Digital Security & rights groups Top10VPN.
Myanmar’s economy has been hit hardest by the internet shutdown, according to Top10VPN. The Myanmar military seized power in a coup in February 2021. This was followed by a massive shutdown of the internet & social media.
Top10VPN estimates that the country’s economy has took a blow of $ 2.8 billion.
Nigeria is estimated to be the second most affected country economically this year after blocking access to Twitter in June. Top10VPN calculated that the economic loss would be $ 1.5 billion.
According to Top10VPN’s annual reports, the economic cost of government-imposed internet shutdowns increased 36% last year compared to 2020.
While Top10VPN estimated that around 486 million people, millions of people were affected by government-imposed internet blackouts in 2021. This was compared to 268 million in 2020, an increase of 81%.
“From advertising to customer service, social media platforms are an essential tool for businesses around the world & when taken offline they can really suffer,” Samuel Woodhams, one of the authors of the report.
“The economic damage from these restrictions is paltry compared to the human cost. However, with Internet restrictions imposed in Kazakhstan & Sudan as early as 2022, Internet shutdowns are far from a thing of the past,” added Woodhams.
Top10VPN calculates the economic impact of internet shutdowns by measuring duration of shutdowns around the world before feeding them through a tool developed by the NGO The Internet Society.