Sir Lanka has revoked the ban imposed on social media platforms like WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram hours after it announced the ban on Sunday. The country, which has been reeling under an unprecedented economic crisis, had announced the social media blackout ahead of a protest against the government.

The apps that were affected due to the ban included Facebook, Messenger, YouTube, WhatsApp, Viber, Twitter, IMO, Instagram, Telegram, Snapchat, and TikTok, according to a report in The Independent.

Sri Lanka is in the throes of its worst financial crisis since its independence in 1948, and has been seeing nationwide protests. The island nation is currently facing a foreign exchange and debt crisis and has been unable to import essential items including fuel, food, and medicine.

Situation at Kochikade today. Large number of area residents have taken to the street. Many posts can be seen in across the social media saying 'Where it all began' .#SriLanka

— Kavinthan (@Kavinthans) April 3, 2022

The social media ban was seen as a measure by the Sri Lankan government to stop protesters from reaching out to each other and getting together. However, the government said that it was being done "in the interests of the country."

The government declared a state of emergency after protests broke out in the country on Friday. In a statement issued on Friday, the government labelled several of these protesters "organised extremists," and said that they were trying to "create anarchy in the country."

Namal Rajapaksa, a Sri Lankan minister and nephew of president Gotabaya Rajapaksa, had also criticised the ban stating that it was useless. "I will never condone the blocking of social media. The availability of VPN, just like I'm using now, makes such bans completely useless," he wrote.

I will never condone the blocking of social media. The availability of VPN, just like I’m using now, makes such bans completely useless. I urge the authorities to think more progressively and reconsider this decision. #SocialMediaBanLK #SriLanka #lka

— Namal Rajapaksa (@RajapaksaNamal) April 3, 2022

The economic crisis being faced by the country has led to a severe shortage of food, fuel, and other basic amenities. The public resentment is only growing with each passing day. A group of angry protesters had converged in front of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa's residence in Colombo on Friday, following which the president declared a state of emergency.

The authorities had also imposed a curfew on Saturday in an attempt to stop the angry protesters, but to no avail. The police have arrested over 660 persons for "violating" the curfew so far.

Sri Lanka Economic Crisis
The Sri Lankan government had imposed a social media ban last week amid protests. Reuters / DINUKA LIYANAWATTE