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Sri Lanka bans social media for 3rd time since suicide attacks

By
Ed Adamczyk
Soldiers patrol an area of Colombo, Sri Lanka, on April 23 following suicide bombings at churches and hotels. File Photo by Perera Sameera/UPI
Soldiers patrol an area of Colombo, Sri Lanka, on April 23 following suicide bombings at churches and hotels. File Photo by Perera Sameera/UPI | License Photo

May 13 (UPI) -- The Sri Lanka government on Monday banned all social media platforms -- for the third time in less than a month -- to prevent the spread of false information during a time of religious tension, officials said.

Facebook, messaging platforms WhatsApp and Viber and video platform YouTube were temporarily blocked due to the church and hotel bombings on April 21 that killed 253 people.

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Dialog Axiata, the island nation's largest mobile network, said it was ordered to restrict use of Instagram, Snapchat and video app IMO. Twitter was exempted from the order, but it has a small user base in Sri Lanka.

A previous ban lasted for a week and was widely criticized.

The crackdown Monday followed attacks on mosques and Muslim-owned businesses in the Christian-majority town of Chilaw. Police lifted a curfew Monday after tensions in the northwestern coastal city calmed.

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