Pakistan has temporarily blocked several social media services in the South Asian nation, according to users and a government-issued notice reviewed by TechCrunch.
In an order titled “Complete Blocking of Social Media Platforms,” the Pakistani government ordered Pakistan Telecommunication Authority to block social media platforms including Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, YouTube and Telegram from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. local time (06.00 a.m. to 10.00 a.m. GMT) Friday.
The move comes as Pakistan looks to crack down against a violent terrorist group and prevent troublemakers from disrupting Friday prayer congregations following days of violent protests.
Earlier this week Pakistan banned the Islamist group Tehrik-i-Labaik Pakistan after arresting its leader, which prompted protests, according to local media reports.
An entrepreneur based in Pakistan told TechCrunch that even though the order is supposed to expire at 3 p.m. local time, similar past moves by the government suggests that the disruption will likely last longer.
Though Pakistan, like its neighbor India, has temporarily cut phone call access in the nation in the past, this is the first time Islamabad has issued a blanket ban on social media in the country.
Pakistan has explored ways to assume more control over content on digital services operating in the country in recent years. Some activists said the country was taking extreme measures without much explanation.