Pakistan has temporarily blocked several social media services in the South Asian nation, according to users and a government notice reviewed by TechCrunch.
In an order titled “Complete blocking of social media platforms,” the Pakistani government ordered the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority to block social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, YouTube and Telegram from 11 a.m. at 3 p.m. (9:30 a.m. GMT) Friday.
The move comes as Pakistan seeks to quell a violent terror group and prevent troublemakers from disrupting Friday prayer congregations after days of violent protests.
Earlier this week, Pakistan banned Islamist group Tehrik-i-Labaik Pakistan after arresting its leader, which sparked protests, according to local media.
A Pakistan-based entrepreneur told TechCrunch that even though the order is supposed to expire at 3 p.m. local time, previous similar government actions suggest the disruption is likely to last longer.
Although Pakistan, like its neighbor India, has temporarily cut off access to phone calls in the country in the past, this is the first time that Islamabad has issued a blanket ban on social media in the country.
Pakistan has explored ways to assume more control over the content of digital services operating in the country in recent years. Some activists said the country was taking extreme measures without much explanation.