Summary Box: Internet traffic in Libya goes dark

AP News
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Posted: Mar 04, 2011 4:35 PM
Summary Box: Internet traffic in Libya goes dark

INTERNET SHUTDOWN: Internet services in Libya, already spotty throughout the country's violent upheaval, appeared completely halted starting Thursday in what analysts consider an attempt to stifle information about the insurrection. The Libyan government controls the country's primary Internet service provider.

BY THE NUMBERS: Only about 6 percent of Libyans have Internet access in the home or in public places, such as Internet cafes, according to the research group OpenNet Initiative. That compares with 24 percent of Egyptians and 81 percent of people in the U.S.

IN THE DARK: The move, coming ahead of planned protests, appears similar to Egypt's response to the protests that led President Hosni Mubarak to step down last month. In Libya, social-media services such as Facebook and Twitter have played a less pivotal role in galvanizing anti-government protesters. But the loss of Internet access could make it more difficult for Libyans and people outside the country to receive updates about how the uprising is unfolding.