So, it has been a recurring topic among concerned organisations about social media use on election day. With the election day just about 2 weeks away, here’s how to arm yourself against any such situations if social media sites are blocked on election day. This is how to unblock social media, and other restricted sites.
The underlying technology for most of these services listed below is that they act as a “middleman” so that connections to the sites are secure, and also appear as if they are coming from another country. They are called Virtual Private Networks. For easier understanding, here’s an image of how VPNs work.
So now that you know how VPNs work, here are 10 options you can use to unblock social media, in 2 weeks. Or even forever.
- Betternet (free) is available on Mac, Windows, iOS, Android. It’s also available on Chrome and Firefox as browser extensions. https://www.betternet.co
- HotSpot Shield (free, with ads) is available on Mac, Windows, iOS and Android. It’s among the quite popular VPNs, especially on Android.
- Hola – Hola has been a popular Chrome browser extension, currently with over 8 million users on Chrome alone. It’s also available on iOS, Android, and Firefox.
- TunnelBear (free, up to 1GB) – I usually use TunnelBear to listen to songs on Spotify. For TunnelBear, you first have 500MB for the month. You can however extend it by connecting your Twitter account and tweeting about it. It’s on Mac, Windows, iOS, Android, Chrome and Opera.
- VPN In Touch ($5 per month) – For Mac, Windows and iOS, VPN in Touch keeps you in touch with your servers while obscuring your IP.
- SurfEasy VPN – Just like TunnelBear, SurfEasy VPN gives you 500mb free for the month, and helps you earn more by telling friends about it. It’s available on Mac, Windows, iOS, Android, Opera, Chrome, and even the Amazon Apps Store. SurfEasy is a part of Opera, the software company that makes Opera Mini.
- DotVPN – DotVPN is available on iOS, Android, Chrome, Firefox and Opera. It offers other premium VPN services which come with faster network, video streaming, audio streaming, etc.
- ZenMate works on firefox chrome windows mac iOS, android
- AirVPN ($4.82/mo) – Finally, something for the Linux users as well. Guess what, this is not as free as the other versions lister earlier.
- MullVad ($5.50/mo) – Another one for Linux. This is also not free. But you may want to spend that if you really want to use social media, if it’s blocked two weeks from today. Otherwise, you can use any of the free ones, with browser extensions.
Finally, there’s the Tor Project. Tor is not a VPN per se, but it also helps you to browse anonymously from other websites. Tor is a browser in itself. It will make your connections anonymous, and it will also help you to visit sites that have been blocked on your network.
Inasmuch as there maybe worries for fear and panic through social media on December 7, it’s not healthy to block social media sites since this will hinder a free and fair environment for speech. The purpose of this post is not to encourage you to be irresponsible with your use of social media.
I would encourage you to use social media responsibly because it affects your readers/followers. Maybe your job depends on social media too; a ban should on social media should not make you redundant at work for just that day. Best thing to do is to find these and install one of these VPNs now; they are also helpful when you want to watch Netflix, BBC iPlayer, or listen to Spotify, not just to unblock social media. Share this post to encourage people to responsibly share on social media on election day.
Happy Voting! Your vote, your choice!
Also published on Medium.