Benin’s government blocked access to the internet1 ahead of the general elections on Sunday 28 April 2019.
Initially only social networks were blocked and users turned to VPNs to be able to access services such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Telegram, and Instagram. Hours later a full internet shutdown in the country was reported.
Update: most of #Benin is now OFFLINE and disconnected from the world. What started as an hour of internet shutdown continued to be 7 hours of social media shutdown and now is a complete and total blackout!! #KeepItOn #BeninBlackOut #BeninShutDown https://t.co/KnDMg6Wi7O— Berhan Taye (@btayeg) April 28, 2019
Confirmed: All major internet providers now disconnected in #Benin on day of scheduled parliamentary elections; incident ongoing #BeninShutdown #KeepItOnhttps://t.co/Y94ipLiLsv pic.twitter.com/a5kfChnJvL— NetBlocks.org (@netblocks) April 28, 2019
Last year Benin’s government made headlines when officials proposed a law to tax2 the use of social media. The decision was reversed after the government faced both local and international outcry. Digital rights advocates lobbied against the levy using the hashtag #Taxepamesmo (“Don’t tax my megabytes”).