Algeria temporarily blocks Facebook, social media sites to stop cheating in exams

  • Algeria temporarily blocked social media sites like Facebook to curb widespread cheating in exams
  • Questions for the high school baccalaureate exams were leaked via social media
  • Officials and employees in education offices were arrested in connection with the leak

Authorities in the north African nation of Algeria temporarily blocked access to Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites in a crackdown against widespread cheating in examinations.

In particular, the government wanted to curb the posting of high school exam papers online.

The students were able to access leaked questions of the baccalaureate exams through Facebook and other social media sites ahead of the official schedule for the tests.

“The cut in social media is directly related to the partial baccalaureate exams. This is to protect students from the publication of false papers for these exams,” an official from the Ministry of Post and Information and Communication Technology told the state news agency, as earlier quoted by GMA News.

As a result, around 300,000 out of 800,000 Algerian students who took the baccalaureate exams earlier this June had to re-do their tests.

“This is to protect students from the publication of false papers for these exams,” the official said.

In addition, the Algerian police has already made arrests, particularly among officials and employees working in national education offices and printing offices after the high school exam papers were leaked onto social media.

While the Ministry clarified that the move was made in order to protect students from “phony topics” that appeared over social media, it also noted that other parts of the internet were not affected.

It appeared, however, that the 3G mobile network were also disrupted during the duration of the re-examinations held.

While other African nations such as Uganda and Congo Brazzaville have implemented similar social media blockages, the move by Algeria was described as “unusual” since it particularly targeted examination leaks while the former were due to unsettling political situations there.