Sri Lankan government blocks social media following deadly blasts

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The Sri Lankan government blocked access to social media platforms on Sunday, following a string of explosions that claimed more than 150 lives on the holiest day on the Christian calendar.

The blasts, which targeted churches during services on Easter Sunday and luxury hotels, also prompted the government to impose an immediate nationwide curfew.

“If I don’t reply to your messages it is because WhatsApp and Facebook appears to have been shutdown in Sri Lanka,” wrote local Roshni Fernando, on Twitter.

Talking to The Washington Post, Fernando explained that she grew up in London but recently moved to Sri Lanka and is currently based in the capital, Colombo — one of the main cities targeted in the deadly attacks.

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“People can now only communicate through SMS here, or Twitter I guess,” said Fernando, explaining that she was also unable to access YouTube and Instagram.

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“I’m hearing reports that they’ve shut down Facebook and WhatsApp so that makes sense as I have had friends in London trying to contact me through both and I can’t see them or message anybody on either Facebook or WhatsApp.”

The blocking of multiple social media platforms came as the Sri Lankan government attempted to clamp down on the circulation of misinformation during and after the attacks that injured hundreds across the country. While the block was widely reported, some users on social media said they were still able to communicate with friends and family on apps such as Snapchat and WhatsApp.

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