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New research reveals most desired blocked internet content
Fri, 14th Aug 2020
FYI, this story is more than a year old

As many as 82.7% of internet users searching how to unblock something online want to access YouTube content, a new study has found.

Research by NordVPN has revealed that video content on YouTube is the most desirable to unlock, while 5.7% of all queries looking to circumvent blocks are about accessing the Google search engine itself.

"The things people search for on engines like Google, Bing, or Baidu can tell a lot about how they live," the study says.

"As peculiar as it sounds, people are googling how to unblock Google. The motive is to look for and access information without the fear of punishment, especially in countries where internet censorship is part of the governments agenda," explains Daniel Markusson, digital privacy expert at NordVPN.

The second most searched query (6.2%) was how to unblock Facebook. Instagram (1.8%), followed by Reddit (1.5%), made the top-five searches on the list.

"Youtube is the second most popular website as of August 2020, with one billion hours of content watched daily. Not surprisingly, some video content is not available in certain countries due to copyright or censorship. This makes people look for workarounds," says Markusson.

When it comes to countries where the internet is considered less free, search queries about accessing Google lead the list. The search volumes of this query come right after YouTube in Indonesia (32%), Turkey (12.5%), and India (2%).

The top 5 countries looking to unblock content on YouTube

First on the list is the US, amounting to 7.7% of all unblock YouTube searches. The country is followed by India (6,5%) and Indonesia (5,3%).

"The reasons behind attempts to access blocked content on YouTube might be notably different. The high search volumes in the US are the result of students trying to bypass rules at school, where bandwidth is often blocked for YouTube," Markuson explains.

"On the other hand, internet users from India and Indonesia are either trying to overcome geo-restrictions imposed by content creators or bypass censorship," he says.

According to the research, 12 years ago Indonesia blocked YouTube on all ISPs for two days. There were also attempts to filter the X category content. Since June of 2018, Malaysia, which comes fourth on the list by unblock YouTube search volumes, has blocked 2,484 pornography sites, .

The number of attempts to reach YouTube content is the same in  the UK and the Philippines. The two countries made the top 5, making up 1.4% of all searches each. Interestingly, the UK is considered to have free access to the internet, while the Philippines internet freedom is known to be partial and censored.