For several hours, the social network was restricted in Turkey after the broadcast of criticism of the authorities regarding the earthquake. A censorship that pushed millions of Internet users to use VPNs.
After the terrible earthquake of January 6 that hit Turkey and Syria, millions of Turkish Internet users found themselves unable to connect to Twitter. The reason for this was the criticism of the Turkish government regarding its reaction to the natural disaster.
To get around this blocking of Internet access, many Internet users have chosen to use a VPN. The tool allows you to localize your Internet network in another country. VPNs are used for example by some series and movies fans to access the foreign catalog of streaming platforms.
Peaks in usage of several hundred thousand Internet users
Following the censorship of Twitter in Turkey – which was finally reinstated the next day – virtual private network service provider Proton VPN has seen a significant increase in the number of registrations per hour, with an increase of more than 30,000% above normal levels, the company tells Tech&Co.
“Usage is also very high with peaks at several hundred thousand people connected simultaneously before the Twitter ban was lifted – this is currently ten times our usual baseline in the country,” the company also explains.
Proton VPN has seen a sharp increase in registrations in Turkey. proton VPN
This situation is not unprecedented
However, this is not the first time Turkish Internet users have flocked to VPNs. In November 2022, Proton VPN had also recorded a 600% increase in the number of registrations in the country after a deadly explosion in Istanbul. Several social networks like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter had been restricted at the time.
“Maintaining access to a free and uncensored internet is essential. This is especially true in times of crisis, when people rely on online platforms to be able to share information with friends, family and the wider community. Proton VPN is committed to doing everything in our power to protect free access to information for everyone, no matter who or where they are,” said Andy Yen, CEO and founder of Proton.
Other geopolitical crises had also led to a surge in registrations on Proton VPN. The outbreak of war in Ukraine led to 9000% more registrations in Russia. The same significant increases after the demonstrations in Iran or the presidential elections in Brazil had led to 5000% and 2000% of new registrations respectively.