Algerian government has temporarily blocked several social media websites including Facebook and Twitter, beginning on Sunday, to prevent further exam malpractices.
This action will have more than half a million students retake their baccalaureate exams in Algeria after a major leak of the papers online earlier this month.
Many students were able to access questions on Facebook and other social media ahead of the exam in early June. A total of 555,177 students in the North-African nation will be re-sitting partial baccalaureate exams from June 19 to 22.
Algerian government reportedly arrested dozens of people, including officials working in national education offices and printers, earlier in June, as part of an investigation into how parts of the 2016 high school exams were leaked onto social media.
The Ministry of Post-Information Technology and Communication in a statement on Sunday said, the “cut of social networks has a direct relationship with the matriculation exams”.
The ministry said the unusual move was made to protect pupils from “phony topics” that might appear on social media. It added that all other parts of the internet were not affected. Access to the internet through the 3G mobile network, however, appeared to be disrupted.
The Ministry of National Education said “all measures have been taken to ensure the smooth running of the exams, in collaboration with other sectors concerned, namely the National Police, National Gendarmerie, Civil Protection and Health authorities”.
Blocking access to online services seems to be a growing trend across the globe. The Indian state of Gujarat turned off mobile Web access last August following violent protests. This month, similar measures were taken in the state of Haryana.
Also, last November, VPN users in China had their connectivity disrupted for trying to scale the Great Firewall.