Sri Lanka on Monday has temporarily banned social networks Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube and instant messaging apps Snapchat, Viber, WhatsApp, and IMO after a Facebook post sparked attacks on mosques and Muslim-owned businesses across several towns on Sunday.
Police said, Christian groups threw stones at mosques and Muslim-owned shops in the northwestern Christian-majority town of Chilaw on Sunday in anger at a Facebook post by a shopkeeper.
Sri Lanka’s largest mobile carrier, Dialog Axiata on Twitter confirmed that it had restricted the websites and apps according to a directive from Sri Lanka’s telecom regulator. NetBlocks, a nonprofit organization that tracks internet outages, tweeted that this was the third time in weeks the country had banned social media in the wake of religious tension.
Earlier, On April 21, Sri Lanka banned social media for 10 days after the Easter Sunday bombings. They did so once again on May 5 after ethnic tensions erupted in the city of Negombo.
Nalaka Kaluwewa, director general of Sri Lanka’s government information department, told Reuters, “Social media blocked again as a temporary measure to maintain peace in the country,”
According to Reuters, the violence on Sunday was sparked after a 38-year-old man posted a Facebook comment: “1 day u will cry,” which was interpreted as a threat.
As per report, Attackers attacked a large mosque, dragged a copy of the Qur'an along the ground, and burned two parked motorbikes. They also threw stones at mosques and Muslim-owned shops.