Facebook restrictions abroad: Quick recap
Many countries block or filter access to Facebook for political and religious reasons. What is the best way to avoid those restrictions while on vacation or while abroad? The best way to connect to Facebook in countries that have restricted it is to use a VPN service. VPNs are easy to install and use. Follow the next steps:
- Subscribe to a good VPN and create an account.
- Download the VPN software on your device.
- Sign in to the VPN software.
- Choose a VPN server in a country where Facebook is not blocked.
- You can now use Facebook. In addition to Facebook, you can also access other services that may be blocked in your country of residence, such as Skype.
Do you want to start using a VPN to bypass Facebook restrictions? We recommend NordVPN. This VPN has tons of options, offers security and fast service, and has many servers all over the world.
For more information on why Facebook is blocked and tips on how to bypass these Facebook blocks, read the full article below.
Facebook is one of the most popular and widespread social networks in modern history. The website boasts of having around 1 billion users all over the world.
Despite its enormous popularity, there are still countries that have significant restrictions or its use is prohibited. In extreme cases, totalitarian governments like those found in North Korea or Iran have included Facebook in sweeping social media bans for political reasons.
Surprisingly, some more liberal countries and governments also restrict or filter traffic to Facebook. While you might expect such restrictions in Cuba or China, the governments of countries like Bangladesh, India, and Vietnam have at one time or another blocked access to Facebook.
The NGO Reporters Without Borders have even included countries like the UK, the US and Germany in their list of “Enemies of the Internet”. This after they introduced legislation allowing them to filter internet and social media content for “national security” reasons.
So, if you find that access to Facebook is being blocked, or you are concerned that your content is being filtered or monitored, how can you get around these restrictions?
In this article, we will look at how and why Facebook is restricted, which countries do so, and how you can use technology such as virtual private networks (VPNs) and proxy websites to get around those restrictions.
Why are there countries that restrict Facebook?
Like many social networks, Facebook is often banned because it serves as a forum for social, religious or political ideas that certain governments do not want their citizens to have access to. Restricting access to Facebook is usually, but not always, part of much larger efforts to limit Internet access.
In cases of countries like Iran and Pakistan, the bans on Facebook are for religious reasons. A prime example of this is when the Pakistani government blocked access to Facebook in 2010 in response to a global online contest to submit drawings of the Prophet Muhammad that was being made on a Facebook page. Under certain Islamic laws, any depiction of the Prophet Muhammad is strictly prohibited.
In countries like Turkey and China, restrictions on social networks are made to prevent their citizens from accessing political ideas that they consider dangerous for the state. Proof of this can be seen in the increased restrictions on freedom of expression, media and social media in Turkey after the failed coup in 2016.
How is Facebook banned or restricted?
Generally, the restrictions on Facebook occur in countries where the government has extensive measures of control over companies that act as Internet Service Providers (ISPs). Once the legislation has been passed, it allows the government to blacklist certain websites, and those ISPs are typically required to block their customers from accessing prohibited content.
The governments of countries like Turkey and the United Arab Emirates exercises strict control over their ISPs. They require them to register with the government. These companies need a “certificate of activity” to function. As part of this registration, they must tolerate government censorship activities or face harsh penalties.
There are several ways for an ISP to block traffic to a particular website. One of the most common methods is blocking domains at the DNS level. Governments, such as Turkey and Iran, use more sophisticated technology such as packet filtering to actively prevent users from accessing prohibited content.
Which countries restrict Facebook?
All of the countries listed below have restricted access to Facebook in one way or another. In the most restrictive states, such as North Korea and Iran, access to Facebook is completely prohibited. In others, such as Turkey and Cuba, the social network is not officially banned, although national ISPs limit bandwidth to make access very difficult.
It’s no surprise that in one of the most secretive and restricted countries in the world, the majority of its citizens do not have access to the Internet. Instead, the totalitarian state operates a harshly restrictive intranet, known as Kwangmyong. A 3G network is available for foreign visitors. However, its users are extremely monitored and are restricted from accessing the vast majority of websites, including Facebook.
Iran began banning Facebook after the disputed 2009 elections in response to fears that opposition movements and radical groups would use the platform to plan events and exchange messages. More akin to North Korea, access to social media in Iran is severely restricted. A large number of websites are blacklisted by the Iranian government.
The government-driven censorship and surveillance initiative known colloquially as “The Great Firewall of China” has blocked access to Facebook since 2009. This initial restriction was established after the 2009 Urumchi riots. The government suggested that Uyghur activists used Facebook to communicate and plan the riots.
In an effort to appease potential foreign investors, access to Facebook is available if you are within the 27-square-kilometer free trade zone in Shanghai.
Under Cuban law, only selected politicians, journalists and medical students are allowed to access the Internet from their homes. Anyone else who wants to connect is forced to use licensed Internet cafes. Asking $6 to $10 an hour for Internet access may not seem like much in some parts of the world. However, this is a country where the average salary is around 20 dollars a month. This makes Internet access prohibitively expensive.
Additionally, it has been reported that government-owned ISPs routinely throttle bandwidth to restrict access to media websites, with pages taking several minutes to load.
In 2010, the Bengali government blocked access to Facebook after satirical cartoons of government officials and the Prophet Muhammad were hosted on a Facebook page. The ban has been lifted, but the government-led Awami League continues to monitor access to the social network. They target users who post “seditious or blasphemous content.”
Egypt initially blocked access to a set of social networks during the attempt to overthrow Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Since then, it is not officially on any blacklist. However, the government regularly monitors bandwidth to restrict access to social networks. Furthermore, they monitor the use of the Internet and communications in Egypt for “national security” reasons.
Since November 2012, Tajikistan has blocked access to Facebook. This restriction was imposed responding to negative comments posted online about President Emomalii Rahmon and other government officials.
Responding to claims that social media was used by anti-national and anti-social elements supported by the Pakistani military and intelligence agencies, India imposed a 6-month ban on Facebook, Twitter and other social media in the Kashmir Valley in 2016.
There have been many other incidents of Facebook being blocked in India, including a three-day ban on Facebook and a whole host of other social networks during the riots in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh sparked by the arrest of Baba Ram Rahim Sing.
Pakistan banned Facebook responding to the same Facebook page, promoting a global drawing contest of the Prophet Mohammed, that caused the ban in Bangladesh.
Access has been restored, but the Pakistani government continues to block individual sites to filter out religious and political content they deem harmful to their citizens.
In May 2016, the Vietnamese government officially blocked access to Facebook for two weeks to limit communications between protesting student groups. Although there have been no further official bans, the Internet shutdown observatory Netblocks has warned of several occasions when Facebook was inaccessible in Vietnam during times of civil and political unrest.
How can you bypass Facebook restrictions?
There are several ways to bypass Facebook access restrictions, from simply changing your DNS settings to using Tor Browser. However, by far the most effective method is to use a VPN service. Below you can find how these methods can help you bypass these restrictions.
VPNs are by far the best option for accessing Facebook anywhere in the world. A VPN, or virtual private network for short, creates an encrypted connection between your computer and a set of servers around the world. This hides your online activities and prevents ISPs from blocking you from accessing websites or content.
Using a VPN also offers other benefits. The encrypted nature of your computer’s communications with the VPN server helps protect you from cybercriminals while the ability to send your traffic through services in multiple countries allows you to bypass geo-blocks and watch all your favourite sporting events.
Which VPN is the best for accessing Facebook?
If you want to start using a VPN to gain access to Facebook, you need to make sure you choose the right VPN provider. You need a VPN that is reliable and has all the features you need to protect your data from nosy governments. Below you will find some of our recommendations.
NordVPN is a reliable VPN provider at a competitive price. Famous for their fast and secure service, they have numerous servers around the world, offering a variety of options for routing your traffic.
NordVPN takes the privacy and security of its customers very seriously.
NordVPN gives you access to all the content you want. You won’t have to worry about someone monitoring you. If you are not completely happy with their services, NordVPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
ExpressVPN is a fast and easy-to-use VPN packed with useful options and features. If you are looking for quality, we recommend ExpressVPN. ExpressVPN is one of the fastest VPN providers out there, and you’ll be connected to Facebook in no time. You can choose from about 3000 fast servers.
If you’re not 100% satisfied, they also offer a 30-day money-back guarantee.
If you want a premium VPN for a very low price, Surfshark is your option. With its low prices, strong security options, and easy-to-use software, this VPN is a cheap yet great alternative to other premium VPNs. It offers excellent speeds on its wide range of global servers.
Change your DNS server settings
Another method of restricting access to Facebook is for your ISP to filter traffic through their DNS servers. By changing your server’s DNS to Google’s public DNS, you can bypass these restrictions.
To change your DNS on a Windows PC, follow the steps below:
- Go to Control Panel > Network and Internet > Network and Sharing Center, and select “Change adapter settings”.
- Right-click on your active connection adapter and select “Properties”.
- Right-click on the “Internet Protocol version 4 (TCP/IPv4)” entry and select “Properties”.
- Activate the option “Use the following DNS addresses” and enter 188.8.131.52 as the DNS of your server.
Hopefully, this will be the only thing you need to do to avoid your government’s restrictions.
The Tor network
If changing DNS isn’t enough to bypass your ISP’s restrictions on accessing Facebook, then Tor Browser may be the key to getting back on the social network.
Tor Browser works by directing your traffic through a number of points distributed around the world. Using these points makes it very difficult for governments or ISPs to monitor your activities.
The downside of Tor Browser is that this diversion of your traffic significantly increases your latency. This slows down your connection and download speed. Consequently, it can be difficult to use voice chat applications, such as Skype.
Furthermore, as we have seen, some countries allow you to go to Facebook, but try to make it impossible by reducing the bandwidth of your connection. Tor Browser will only slow down your speed even more, making it really impossible to visit Facebook.
For many people, social networks like Facebook are their main way of keeping in touch with friends and family. Removing this connection due to the country you are in is very frustrating, not to mention feeling a bit isolated.
Unfortunately, many countries around the world continue to block or filter access to Facebook for political and religious reasons. They simply cut off their citizens and visitors from the social network.
Avoiding these restrictions is not easy, but it is not impossible either. Reconfiguring your DNS to Google’s public DNS can get you around the simplest of restrictions. However, for more pervasive filtering, you will need to make use of Tor Browser or a VPN.
While Tor Browser is a great way to browse anonymously, it does have some drawbacks. Using too many points to divert your traffic increases your latency. This means that you will notice quite a drop in speed in your connection. Additionally, some countries that routinely restrict access to Internet content, such as China, are increasing their efforts to find and block Tor exits.
By far the best way to connect to Facebook in a country where it is restricted is to use a VPN service. VPNs are easy to install, easy to use, and have a wide variety of benefits that go beyond just letting you access a website.
With a VPN, you can be sure that no one will track your activities on the Internet. The VPN’s encrypted connection means that neither governments nor cybercriminals can access your data.
Whether you want to access TikTok, are a sports fan, or just want to watch BBC iPlayer abroad, a VPN is exactly what you’re looking for. Since your traffic will appear to come from any country, a VPN gets you past those pesky geo-blocks. In this way, you can watch your favourite program and update your social network without any type of restriction.
Accessing Facebook abroad: Frequently asked questions
Do you have questions about how to bypass Facebook blocks while travelling?
Take a look at our frequently asked questions below to see their answers!
Why is Facebook blocked?
Governments block Facebook for political and religious reasons. Countries such as Turkey and China impose restrictions on social networks to prevent their citizens from having access to political ideas that they consider dangerous for the state.
How can I avoid these restrictions on Facebook?
The best way to connect to Facebook in a country that restricts it is to use a VPN service. Once you are connected to a server in another country, you also get the freedom that exists in that country.
You will receive the corresponding IP address and from that moment you will be digitally located in that other country. If you connect to a server in a country where the use of Facebook is allowed, you will have access to this service.