Ivory Coast web habits change amid unrest
Although the Internet infrastructure in Cote d’Ivoire is running smoothly, Internet traffic coming from the nation appears down, at least according to Google’s Transparency Report. On April 1st the normalized traffic from Ivory Coast decreased significantly in comparison to the previous three weeks. The cause: extreme unrest and fighting in Abidjan. Most likely, a large share of Internet traffic is based in the capital. Not only has business in the city slowed, but civilians are more concerned with finding daily supplies than spending time on the Internet.
Interestingly, Ivorian traffic to YouTube shows an entirely different trend. YouTube traffic is essentially normal through the April period, except for a major spike on the 4th as the battle to oust incumbent Laurent Gbagbo intensified. The graph shows the fairly well:
The spike in YouTube traffic seems to suggest that Ivorians are using what bandwidth is available to view videos of the conflict rather than perform Google searches of entertainment value. Moreover, lower-than-usual Google News traffic from Cote d’Ivoire suggests that Ivorians seek important news directly from local sources.
Note: Google has been making changes to the way data is tracked, but no such change has been noted since March 3rd.