Internet Shutdowns


January 13, 2021 16:10 - January 18, 2021 08:00 (4 days 15 hours)

Estimated financial impact

Social media

Media coverage

Ahead of the Ugandan 2021 general elections, ReutersNYTimes, and AccessNow reported orders to limit access to social media platforms, particularly Facebook. This is not the first time Uganda orders social media services shutdown during elections, MTN Uganda reported a similar order in 2016.

However, as of 16:10UTC on 13th January 2021, we started noticing wider Internet shutdown across the country. Over the next days, the shutdown was covered in multiple media outlets, including:

As of 8:00UTC 18 January 2021, Internet traffic started to get back to normal indicating the end of the total shutdown, however, reports indicated that blocking of social media sites is still active.

Related blog posts



The Collaboration on International ICT Policy
for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA)

Data and Analysis

As of 13 January 2021, data available from Oracle’s Internet Intelligence and CAIDA’s IODA show drop in visibility of IP prefixes through BGP in Uganda by 15-25% between 13:30 and 16:00UTC, followed by larger drop reaching to 75% by 20:00UTC until 18 January 2021 8:00UTC when we traffic started to get back to normal indicating end of the shutdown. Previous directive on blocking social media services is still effective.

Data from Uganda Internet Exchange Point showing huge drop in traffic, from an average of 5Gbits to a mere average of 280Mbits

Data from Oracle’s Internet Intelligence:

Data from RIPE NCC:

Data from CAIDA’s IODA:

Data from Google’s Transparency Report:;product:19;region:UG&lu=fraction_traffic