Why can’t I access my social media websites?
Social media has quickly become one of the most popular platforms on the internet. Between Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and even YouTube, people spend hours every day browsing online platforms. Perhaps the biggest attraction of social media is the freedom that comes with it and the ability to customize it to your liking.
Also, social media allows you to keep in touch with your friends and family and update them on what is happening in your life. Accessing any social media platform is as easy as visiting the site and logging into your account.
But sometimes it’s just not that easy. You may think that you can access your social media platforms and accounts from anywhere and anytime. However, some countries use internet censorship to prevent you from accessing any social media websites. Why is that? Keep reading to find out!
What is Internet censorship?
First, let’s dig deeper into the definition of internet censorship. As you might have guessed, internet censorship happens when access to certain websites is blocked. You might know this if your workplace restricts access to social media websites during office hours. However, some entire countries also block websites.
This means that the websites are simply not accessible to anyone within the country’s borders. The reasons why countries use internet censorship vary. For example, in the Middle East, countries will block explicit websites and anti-Islamic content for religious reasons.
So why would a country block social media websites? The truth is that some countries block social media websites, the most prominent example being China. The Chinese government opposes social media, and they are infamous for their strict internet censorship.
China uses the Great Firewall to block access to specific websites within its borders. This includes foreign news websites, social media and even some Google services such as the search engine, as well as the video and image search function – other services such as Google Maps are still available in China.
The reason why China would block social media websites is purely political. The primary reason cited by the Chinese government for blocking social media websites is that protesters were using social media platforms to coordinate attacks and protests against the government. Images and videos of police brutality were also shared, and foreigners shared posts that portrayed the Chinese government in a bad light — in other words, the Chinese government was completely undermined by social media.
Blocking access to all social media websites seemed like the best solution for them, and it remains that way to this day. However, this causes some frustration among tourists visiting China who want to access their social media profiles to post photos and videos or connect with friends and family.
What is a VPN?
Fortunately, there is a solution to this problem, and it comes in the form of a handy cybersecurity tool that you can install on your device. The tool in question is known as VPN or virtual private network. VPNs have become incredibly popular in recent years thanks to their unblocking capabilities, which allow users to bypass internet censorship and geo-blocking, but we’ll see how that happens in a minute.
First, the main job of a VPN is to secure your connection. It does this by encrypting your internet connection, which is especially important if you’re using insecure connections such as those found on public Wi-Fi hotspots. These hotspots are conveniently located at airports, hotels, and restaurants, making them the perfect way for tourists to connect to the Internet in a foreign country.
These insecure connections are where cybercriminals thrive. Hackers will be able to virtually spy on your device. This lets them see what you’re doing on your device, whether it’s entering passwords or sending emails.
While your VPN is connected, no one will be able to see what you are doing on your device. Even your internet service provider and the government will not be able to track your internet traffic.
The main function we are looking for is the ability to unblock websites. Your VPN can connect to one of many secure global servers in another country or city around the world. Once you are connected to the server, your real IP address will be masked and the server IP address will be adopted instead. This will make the website believe that you are accessing it from another country.
This might explain how you bypass geo-blocking, but you might be wondering how it works for internet censorship – surely your internet access is blocked within the country’s borders. Well, that’s true, but a VPN will still do the trick. Think of a VPN as a tunnel created in the network. Your device can sneak through this tunnel (undetected) and connect to the internet through the server of your choice.
It is important to remember that you must install a VPN on your device before traveling to a country that uses internet censorship. Countries that use internet censorship know what a VPN can do, and so they will block websites that allow you to download VPNs, making it completely impossible to unblock websites once you’re there. within their borders.
How to Choose the Right VPN
Before installing a VPN on your device, there are a few things to keep in mind. The first is that you should avoid free VPNs. You will inevitably come across free VPNs, and it might be tempting to use them, but overall premium VPNs perform better both in terms of security and unblocking capabilities. If you use a free VPN, you will encounter serious drawbacks such as daily data limits, slower connection speeds, more ads, and fewer global servers. All in all, free cybersecurity tools should always be avoided as they can always put your device at risk by not giving you the best possible protection.