Following the terrible bombings in Sri Lanka which left over 300 people dead and over 500 more injured, the government put in place a social media ban on the basis that social media was a prime place where false information (fake news) could spread and incite further violence.
This news was met with widespread criticism across the country as well as the rest of the world for a multitude of different reasons. The consensus is that the social media ban does more harm than good, and there is ample evidence to back up that claim.
Whatever your stance on the topic, there is no doubt that many of our readers who live in Sri Lanka might rely on social media for a lot of important tasks including finding freelance clients, communicating with relatives abroad, and checking in with distant friends and relatives to make sure they are safe.
People in the aforementioned categories can use a VPN to circumvent the Social Media block and browse the internet in a completely uncensored manner. You can take a look at our list of best VPNs for Sri Lanka and read on further to see how a VPN can help them.
Why the social media ban is wrong
The general population of Sri Lanka is not the only group that has been resistant to the ban. Many world-renowned news publications including The Verge have stated their opinion that the actual drawbacks of the social media ban outweigh the potential benefits.
Here are some of the reasons why banning social media is not the correct response to the terror attacks.
Industry suffers in the wake of social media ban
Many of Sri Lanka’s industries such as tourism have already suffered massive consequences due to the April 21 attacks. There’s no doubt that the tourism industry grinds to a halt after an attack of such magnitude and it can take years to recover.
However, one of the main ways for the tourism industry (and many others) to market itself is through social media. Once you take away their power to do that, you’re only further hampering their ability to generate revenue. In the worst-case scenario, this ban could end up leaving a lot of people unemployed and damage the Sri Lankan economy.
Online businesses can’t function
As we said before, many people, including freelancers, often use Facebook and other social media to market themselves and find new clients. Banning social media only further curtails Sri Lankan individuals from earning a living.
Relatives cannot get in touch with one another
Although most people have multiple modes of communication with their loved ones, some distant relatives are not so easy to reach. Due to the massive footprint of social networks such as Facebook and Instagram, it should be easy for family members to contact one another and check if they are safe.
On top of this, people living in a community can utilize social media to plan relief activities for those who have been negatively affected by the incident. Once they no longer have access to it, their worries are bound to increase.
Social media ban curtails personal freedom
Lastly, banning something that has become such an integral part of our life definitely is an extremely totalitarian measure which is reminiscent of some of the worst authoritarian governments the world has ever seen. The fear of people using social media for the wrong reasons is not enough to not allow personal freedoms that we have come to take for granted.
The social media ban imposed by the Sri Lankan government has definitely caused worry as well as problems for the population. However, the good news is that you can easily circumvent this ban by using a VPN. Let’s take a look at how.
How a VPN can be used to access social media in Sri Lanka
A VPN service uses one of its own servers hosted at a remote location to route user traffic through it. Since the government implements its social media ban mainly by blocking servers of popular websites, it’s easy to see why a VPN is the perfect solution for someone looking to have uncensored access to the internet.
Using a VPN is completely legal in Sri Lanka so you should not expect to get in trouble for using it. On top of that, it’s very difficult for the government to detect any of your traffic once you connect to a VPN server due to the military-grade AES-256 encryption used by leading VPN providers.
There are both free and paid VPNs available. However, you should be extremely careful when choosing free VPNs as many of them have been known to log data and sell it for profit. Here are some of the safest as well as the most effective VPNs (when it comes to speed and performance) for people currently residing in Sri Lanka.
NordVPN is probably the best VPN in the industry when it comes to security. On top of that, it’s extremely reliable and has over 5000 servers to choose from, which means you should be able to find one with good performance near you relatively easily.
NordVPN is also incredibly cheap if you’re willing to pay for a longer time. For their 3-year plan, you only need to pay $2.99/month. Of course, the prices rise once you reduce the time that you’re willing to subscribe for, but NordVPN is still relatively cheap for the grade of security they offer.
Surfshark is another VPN known for its great prices. You can get Surfshark for as little as $1.99/month. For this price, you get access to all the features you would find in other top VPNs including the military-grade encryption, large server network, and top-notch customer support.
Surfshark is not as top-notch as NordVPN when it comes to security, but if all you want to do is access social media, it should get the job done.
ProtonVPN is the best free option if you want to access social media in Sri Lanka. Of course, the fact that it’s free means you’re going to face certain limitations. Among them is the fact that ProtonVPN has significantly slower speeds than other VPNs that work in Sri Lanka. Another restriction is that you can only use ProtonVPN on one device at a time.
However, ProtonVPN offers great security and should be enough for social media use.
Although social media has been banned in Sri Lanka, it’s still incredibly easy to access through with a VPN. On top of this, the government may place even stricter controls over its internet in the near future. If that happens, a VPN is a great tool to have as it can shield all your online activity while simultaneously allowing you to have uncensored access to the entirety of the World Wide Web.