Internet disrupted in Guinea ahead of presidential election result announcement

Network data from the NetBlocks internet observatory confirm that internet has been disrupted in Guinea as of 7:30 a.m. UTC Friday 23 October 2020 as the West African country prepares to announce official results from this week’s presidential elections. The incident has nation-scale impact and is likely to significantly limit the domestic and international flow of information.

Tensions are high in capital Conakry as supporters of opposition candidate Cellou Dalein Diallo and incumbent President Alpha Conde each appeared to declare their candidate’s victory ahead of the official announcement.

Technical measurements from the observatory confirm major disruptions on leading cellular network operator Orange, with national connectivity registering at just 9% of ordinary levels. Meanwhile, MTN and Cellcom exhibit partial restrictions limiting access to major social media and communication platforms. The incident has been registered with a duration of 100 hours.

Elections in Guinea have been held under an increasingly restrictive media environment that include national internet restrictions. In March 2020, NetBlocks confirmed disruptions to internet connectivity on Guinea’s internet backbone. Following international expressions of concern, the measures were rolled back by GUILAB, the organization responsible for Guinea’s international link via the ACE subsea cable, but were nevertheless followed with partial restrictions as access was again restricted on polling day.

Authorities have not issued any public statement in relation to the restrictions, which are ongoing as of Friday evening.

Further reading:


Methodology

This report follows the Election Pathfinder Rapid Response methodology which defines a set of core principles, workflows and benchmarks for network measurement and evaluation during elections and referenda.

NetBlocks diffscans, which map the IP address space of a country in real time, show internet connectivity levels and corresponding outages. Purposeful internet outages generally have a distinct network pattern used by NetBlocks to determine and attribute the root cause of an outage, a process known as attribution which follows detection and classification stages.

A summary of data visualizations used in this report:

  • Network Connectivity (National): Internet providers and networks serving the affected region are visualized in a stacked time-series histogram to identify the start and end times of an internet shutdown event. Scales on the y-axis are adjusted to match localized maxima while minima indicate periods when networks became unreachable. The x-axis represents Universal Coordinated time (GMT+0).
    • Standard: Connectivity levels on the y-axis correspond directly to the observed number of reachable connections, as with National Connectivity charts.

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