Internet Censorship Statistics: A Global Analysis


Updated · May 17, 2023


Joined April 2023

Ritesh Kumar has a seemingly deep obsession with anything web, tech and SEO (in no particular order)... | See full bio


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Technological advancement and the internet have fundamentally changed how people trade information and communicate. Every day, more than 50% of people worldwide use the Internet for business, education, or enjoyment. 

However, not all nations enjoy the same freedom of internet access because some impose strict censorship. Different countries around the world may have various types of internet censorship. Still, every nation has a justification for putting such restrictions in place.

North Korea, China, and Iran are the most censored countries worldwide. They have the strictest internet regulations, which include restrictions on social media platforms, VPNs, torrenting, pornography, and other online activities.

Typically, to protect or to restrict access in general. Continue reading to learn more about how this internet censorship differs from around the globe. 

Editor’s Choice

  • According to Go Globe, 64% of internet users express concern over governmental censorship.
  • Ireland ranks first for internet freedom with 95 points on the Freedom House Index.
  • North Korea, China, and Iran are among the top censored nations in the world, according to Data Prot.
  • According to Article 19, the Turkish government has blocked more than 450,000 websites since 2020.
  • According to Surfshark, with the increase in internet censorship incidents, 4.2 billion people were affected worldwide.
  • 35% of internet users had no access, while 24% had unrestricted access, as per World Economic Forum.
  • Internet blocking cost the world economy $5.5 billion in 2021, according to Top10VPN.
  • Business Insider's study shows that between  2020 and 2021, the number of people impacted by internet outages increased by 80%.

Statistics on Internet Censorship Overview

In 2022, 4.2 billion individuals were subjected to Internet restrictions. Governments often restrict websites for safety and political reasons. Most of the limits are based on a country’s set of rules and regulations.

Continue reading to learn about the major trends in government and school internet censorship statistics worldwide. 

Internet Censorship Statistics By Governments

Over half of the world's population uses the Internet daily for various purposes. But internet restriction varies differently from one country to another depending on the rules implemented by their government. 

Internet censorship is practically everywhere; online information is often blocked or suppressed. Here are the top countries where the Internet is strictly regulated and monitored.

1. 64% of internet users worldwide express worry about governmental censorship.

(Go Globe)

Only 31% of the world's online population is free to use the Internet, while more than 64% express concern about government censorship. Since 2015, 46% of the global population has been impacted in some way by government-imposed Facebook bans. 

Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok are being blocked by authoritarian countries, including Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Jordan in 2022 and Pakistan and Uzbekistan in 2021.

2. With 95 points on the Freedom House Index, Iceland ranks first worldwide for internet freedom. 


The Human Freedom Index is a tool that can assist in observing linkages between freedom and other economic and social occurrences. Iceland is the leading country worldwide regarding internet freedom, having 95 index points in the Freedom House Index. China ranked the least, with only ten index points for user rights violations and access limitations.

3. The top most-censored countries in the world include North Korea, which has over 6,000 trained hackers.

(Business Insider)

North Korea strictly censors its internet use, prohibiting pornography, social media access, and blocking VPNs. Their primary tool for internet filtering is called the Kwangmyong, a "walled garden" intranet service with between 1,000 and 5,000 carefully regulated sites covering national politics, culture, science, and economy. 

The Iranian government has also blocked Internet access for most of its 84 million citizens. Although torrenting is not entirely prohibited, foreign VPNs are not allowed in the country. Social media sites like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter have rigorous restrictions. 

4. China has blocked thousands of websites using The Great Firewall.

(VPN Mentor)

China's infamous filtration system, "The Great Firewall," has blocked over 8,000 domains to safeguard its people from foreign influence and destructive data.

The filtering system blocked social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Flicker, Pinterest, blogging and streaming websites, messaging apps, email services, cloud storage, and search engines.

5. The Turkish government blocked more than 450,000 websites in 2020. 


Since 2020, Turkey shut down more than 450,000 websites. They've restricted more than 40,000 messages on Twitter and 10,000 videos on YouTube. 

A 2020 censorship report from IFade states that by the end of 2020, Turkey had access to 467.011 websites blocked by 408.808 separate orders from 764 different institutions.

6. 73% of Americans know what rights the First Amendment protects.

(Penn Today)

The First Amendment protects the citizens of the United States from government censorship. When the government censors, the amendment’s liberties are compromised.

However, the First Amendment's safeguards are not absolute, which has resulted in Supreme Court disputes. Over time, it has set rules or tests to establish protected and unprotected speech.

Internet Censorship Statistics By School

Since the invention of the Internet, it has become the wealthiest and most utilized source of information, especially for educators and students worldwide. 

It can be challenging to determine how school censorship affects students' learning. To provide you with some insights, here's how online censorship affects educational institutions.

7. In a study conducted in Turkey, 59.4% of teachers believe that internet censorship is essential in educational institutions.


60.5% of primary and secondary teachers in Turkey agree that restricting specific Internet websites will not bring harmful effects to the educational system in general. 

On the other hand, 86.6% of them oppose website blocking because they believe it can be used as a teaching tool. 

8. The internet grew to greater heights in 2021, adding about 300 million new users.

(Private Internet Access)

In 2021, the internet became richer, with almost 300 million new users, demonstrating 5.7% annual user growth. A report shows 1.4 million unique users daily on various social media sites.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the requirement for devices for work-from-home arrangements and online classes significantly increased the number of internet users. 

Over 60% of the world's population uses the Internet daily for personal and work-related purposes. However, most government imposes internet restrictions limiting information availability online.

Internet access and censorship differ by location; one policy may not apply to another country. In this section, we’ll dive into the trends in Internet censorship statistics. Read on to learn more.

9. 4.2 billion people were affected by internet censorship in 2022.


The number of incidences of internet censorship in 2022 increased throughout the year, affecting an estimated 4.2 billion people. 

There were 112 restrictions overall, which impacted 32 different nations. Russia, India, Iran, and the Jammu and Kashmir region received international media attention for regular Internet and social media interruptions. 

10. 3.8 billion people worldwide have Internet access.

(Freedom House)

Of the billions of internet users worldwide, 56% lived in areas with limited political, social, or online religious content. In comparison, 41% lived where an internet connection was frequently unavailable due to political situations. 46% of people live where social networking services are temporarily or permanently blocked.

11. According to studies,  24% of internet users have free online access. 

(World Economic Forum)

In general, 24% of internet users had unrestricted access, 29% of users had partially free access, and 35% had no free access worldwide.

Internet censorship requirement depends upon the state's rules and regulations. Ireland is lucky to enjoy such freedom compared to other countries that strictly enforce internet control.

12. Internet outages and censorship have cost the world economy $5.5 billion in 2021.

(Business Insider)

According to the digital rights organization Top10VPN, Internet outages, social media shutdowns, and bandwidth limiting by governments have cost the world economy $5.5 billion in 2021. The number of persons affected by internet outages increased by 80% between 2020 and 2021.


Online restriction usually takes the form of parental controls at home, where parents use keyword filtering and blocklisting to keep their children safe online. On the other hand, businesses restrict the internet at work to boost productivity and prohibit unwanted content.  

Internet censorship may differ from different regions of the world. Political reasons are frequently the driving force behind internet censorship.

Censorship is a complex and complicated worldwide issue. While some censorship ought to protect individuals from the harmful effects of unwanted sites, we must stay vigilant against abuse of power concerning online freedom suppression.

Frequently Ask Questions.

How does censorship affect freedom of expression?

Internet censorship affects freedom of expression by limiting and restricting an individual's speech and thoughts, whether in printed materials, television programs, or internet sites.

Should the government be allowed to censor the internet deemed inappropriate?

Internet censorship is necessary, but only in proportion. If unregulated, people with evil intent may exploit it to endanger everyone's safety and security. 

Does social media censorship violate the First Amendment?

The First Amendment does not guarantee the freedom of all speech. The Supreme Court has developed standards, or tests, for determining what address is protected and what is not.

What is censorship in social media?

Censorship in social media includes removing posts or comments, preventing others from publishing or commenting, and prohibiting others from having full access to an official media site.

How does internet censorship work?

Blocking IP addresses is a relatively easy technique to ban particular websites or platforms. The censor first compiles a list of all the websites with blocked IP addresses or TCP/IP port numbers. The ISP will then check each request against the list as browsers make requests to access websites. The ISP will cut off the connection if there is a match.




Ritesh Kumar has a seemingly deep obsession with anything web, tech and SEO (in no particular order). He has more than five years of experience in the background check industry, promoting and collaborating with all the major brands in the space. He is currently the co-founder of - A free tool to report bad drivers and look up license plates. Talk to him about Google algorithmic updates, and he can go on and on till the sheep come home.

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