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Sri Lanka blocks social media after Easter Sunday bombings, citing misinformation

Sri Lanka blocked multiple social media networks, including Facebook and WhatsApp, following terrorist attacks on Easter Sunday, to halt the spread of misinformation. YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook Messenger and Viber were also inaccesible, according to internet freedom tracker Netblocks. The bombings targeted churches and luxury hotels on Easter Sunday, killing 250 people and wounding 500 people. The social media ban was still in place as of this morning as multiple social media apps failed to load this morning. Twitter appears to be accessible as some government ministers and journalists have been tweeting out information. The Sri Lankan government said the decision was taken as "false news reports were spreading through social media"; it said the blockage will be effective until investigations into the attack concluded. A presidential adviser to Sri Lanka added that the decision was unilateral; the block came out of fear that misinformation about the attacks and hate speech could spread, provoking more violence, per the New York Times. The publication added that the government preemptively blocked internet before any social media triggered violence was known to have taken place. What misinformation we know spread Officials arrested 13 people following the bombings, but did not release names of any suspects, and no group has claimed responsibility of the attack. However, there was widespread speculation online about the possible perpetrators of the attack. According to BuzzFeed News, news outlets published names of suspects that had not been verified by officials. One video that named a man in connection with…

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