Bitly is Blocked in Venezuela and Why We Care

If you have not heard, Venezuela is suffering from economic imbalances affecting its currency, the Bolivar.  As a result, Venezuelans are searching for information about the value of their currency. Unfortunately, the government has been taking action to restrict access to the free flow of this information.  For more details on what is happening there, read here.

Starting on November 18 and consistently since then, we noticed a change in the traffic we see from Venezuela:

Traffic drop from Venezuela

We believe this change in traffic is related to the government-owned ISP CANTV, which controls most of the Venezuela’s internet traffic. It appears CANTV is actively blocking hundreds of sites that publish information about Venezuela’s currency situation. Further, they appear to be intermittently blocking Bitly because our service makes it easier for people to share content.

We’ve been hearing from users in Venezuela too:

tweettweet

Bitly started as a link shortener to help people share links and understand what happens to those links.  Since then, we’ve grown in many ways.  

We’ve gotten really, really big.  We’re shortening more than two billion links that are generating more than seven billion clicks each month.  We see clicks from almost every website in every country in the world.  

We’ve become more focused on giving individuals and companies insight into their place in the connected world, including a deeper understanding of what happens after they shorten a link.  We track 4.8 billion data points each day and apply insight to that data.  

What’s going on in Venezuela is important. It’s important to the citizens of Venezuela who want to understand the health of their country. It’s important for the rest of us, who might take our access to information for granted.  

Our mission at Bitly is to empower people to better understand the world around them. We hope that the economic strain in Venezuela will be resolved - and sooner rather than later. In the meantime, we will work to find ways to support our users and their access to the free flow of information.

— Mark Josephson, CEO Bitly