Yes, Facebook is blocked in Sri Lanka as of March 8, 2018, along with Instagram, WhatsApp, and Viber. The Sri Lankan government instituted the ban in order to quell anti-Muslim violence in the country following a week of riots. Authorities stated the ban will remain in place until Facebook agrees to take a tougher stance on incendiary hate speech and take quicker action to prevent violence.
Notice: Our test seems to indicate that "facebook.com" is blocked, but "www.facebook.com" is *not* blocked. We are investigating this issue, but as it stands we have found no reports indicating the ban has been lifted as of March 14, 2018.
In response, Comparitech has launched this tool to test whether Facebook---as well as other sites and apps---remain blocked in Sri Lanka. While we do not condone violence, we also support an open internet free from censorship.
The Facebook ban is not without precedent. Sri Lanka has a history of silencing those who are critical of the government. Reporters Without Borders labels the country “under surveillance”. Many websites dealing in news and politics have been blocked. Pornographic sites have also been blocked in the past.
If Facebook gave in to the Sri Lanka government’s demands, it wouldn’t be the first time that Facebook censored material on its own sites within a country. In Thailand, for example, residents cannot see certain posts that undermine the country’s monarchy. Facebook has admitted it would self-censor in Vietnam to comply with the country’s laws.
You can access Facebook, as well as any other site or app blocked in Sri Lanka, by connecting to a VPN. Short for Virtual Private Network, a VPN encrypts all of a device’s internet traffic and routes it through an intermediary server in a location of your choosing. For example, users in Sri Lanka can connect to a server in some country where Facebook isn’t blocked.
VPNs are 100 percent legal in Sri Lanka. They are typically paid subscription services that cost a few dollars a month. You can install VPN apps on most major operating systems including Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android.
We recommend you check out our list of the best VPNs for Sri Lanka. Here you’ll find useful advice about which VPN to choose and how to get set up. Once you’re signed up, setup only takes a few minutes. Once connected, you can browse the web with freedom.