One year ago this week, the Russian government launched its illegal and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. Almost immediately after, the Kremlin blocked Facebook and Twitter for people in Russia and forced the remaining independent and foreign media operating in the country to shut their doors. Russians have spent the past year living in a more isolated digital environment than ever before, with limited access to information about the atrocities their government continues to perpetrate just across the border in Ukraine.
While brutal, Russia’s regime of digital repression is not unique. Country by country, governments are breaking apart the global internet to create more controllable domestic spaces. In the latest edition of Freedom House’s Freedom on the Net report, which analyzes the ways human rights online are protected or restricted, we found that authorities in 52 of the 70 countries we surveyed pursued at least one form of internet fragmentation.