Unblock access to social media with a VPN for Facebook

Anton P. | January 11, 2021

Hit a wall when trying to access Facebook? Do not call it a day just yet. A VPN for Facebook is the secret weapon you can use to blast through the barrier. Unless you follow a strictly Facebook-free diet, your day consists of numerous brief visits to this site. However, a handful of entities frown upon social media as a distraction, time-sink, or a threat to national security. Find out just how you can unblock Facebook and return to normal socialization activities.

Reasons why governments block social media

Facebook is the platform for sharing, agreeing, and feuding with your fellow peers or strangers. Thus, it is a fusion of striking opinions and emotions with little or no supervision. Sadly, many social media platforms unwittingly partake in the uncontrollable spread of misinformation, hate, racism, propaganda, and fake news. Such misuse is undeniably dangerous, triggering unreasonable fears, misconceptions, and prejudices. While these points might reflect the reasons behind some Facebook bans, it is not the whole story.

Facebook blocks work as censorship tools. While Facebook has been temporarily unavailable in many regions, only a few impose permanent bans. North Korea, China, Iran, and Syria have such restrictions, and they have to do with careful regime protection. Heavily restrictive governments actively fight open media, and Facebook falls in the same category.

Social media is essentially a channel for global voices. Hence, countries like China and Iran might fear the distribution of rebellious and regime-criticizing ideas. Recently, Solomon Islands announced its plans to ban Facebook, joining the likes of North Korea and China. While official statements highlight fears over harmful and offensive content on Facebook, experts note other reasons. The Solomon Islands has rebuilt its relationship with Beijing, which might be the reason for the sudden shift. Therefore, while governments base their Facebook bans on fears of immoral and hateful content, it has more to do with limiting free speech.

No Facebook at schools or workplaces

According to statistics, people spend 2 hours and 20 minutes on social media per day. However, depending on the country and personal habits, such numbers could go beyond that. Educational institutions and workplaces might try to build distraction-free environments, with the sole focus on academics or professional tasks.

  • Bans at schools or universities. Students check their phones during classes over 11 times on average. So, bans on social media or other distracting apps are initiatives to increase engagement during school hours. Educational institutions have full rights to block access to certain services on their Wi-Fi networks. Hence, even though students can view such restrictions as oppressive or unfair, they have limited options to oppose them. However, while social media could be the powerhouse of distraction, it is not all that. It can be useful for increasing communication between students and parents.
  • Bans at workplaces. Employers can take a similar approach to label social media as a disturbance. Hence, blocking Facebook in offices could mean that teams will dedicate more time to their official tasks. Nevertheless, specialists indicate that productivity might not be about time spent on work assignments. Instead, it is about output, the final result we produce. Thus, blocking Facebook or other social media could work as a solution but might not bring the expected effect.

How do bans on Facebook work?

There are several techniques entities can use to block access to Facebook or other services.

  • Usually, they rely on firewalls that prevent outbound and inbound traffic to/from specific sites. Hence, as soon as you connect to a Wi-Fi network that imposes such restrictions, your requests render useless. In some routers, it is possible to set schedules for browsing restrictions.
  • Proxies could interfere and halt your access to services.
  • When governments are the ones regulating internet accessibility, restrictions are active nationwide. Then, ISPs and firewalls block services at a higher level.
  • More local bans can be done through hosts files, instructing specific requests to lead to nonexistent IP addresses.
  • Blocking access to the Facebook website might not be the only measure applied. Entities also ban apps, which might require OpenDNS service.

An important thing to note is that most of these restrictions work at the Wi-Fi level. Thus, the use of mobile data remains unsupervised and ban-free. Of course, things shift when governments and ISPs issue blocks on a national scale. Then, Facebook will become unavailable on all access points, be it mobile data or Wi-Fi.

How to unblock Facebook?

Bypassing blocks on Facebook is relatively simple, especially if network managers do not consider all options.

  • Entering the mobile version of Facebook.
  • Accessing Facebook through its IP address.
  • Trying different browsers might also work if restrictions apply only to specific programs.

More advanced options to unblock Facebook include:

  • Proxy servers work as gateways between users and the internet. They make web requests on your behalf, gather responses, and return them to you. During this process, proxy servers modify your IP address and might reclaim access to Facebook. However, entities can block proxy servers, rendering them ineffective. Furthermore, most proxies won’t go beyond IP-spoofing. It could be a problem if you expect to conceal your requests from network administrators.
  • Custom DNS servers can help in cases when OpenDNS is the option chosen for web filtering. One solution is to configure the use of Google Public DNS, but it might be more suitable for tech-savvy netizens.
  • You can download and install the Tor browser. Depending on your situation, you will need different setups. For instance, you might need to configure Tor if you operate in countries restricting its use. It is mostly about picking bridges (either obfs4 or meek-azure). The latter resolves the ban in China, but you might need to switch to obfs4 if it is ineffective.

These tips, with varying degrees of success, might let you unblock social media networks. Nevertheless, a VPN for Facebook requires no technical expertise nor lengthy setup. Besides being highly friendly to beginners, a VPN works regardless of practices used to block Facebook.

Why VPN for Facebook is the ideal solution

Atlas VPN gets the job done in seconds, as soon as you connect to our servers. How? Similarly to proxies, we replace original IP addresses with ones belonging to our servers. The difference is that we do not stop there. By using a VPN to unblock Facebook, you automatically elevate your privacy in the digital world. We reroute your traffic through an encrypted tunnel, meaning that even network admins and ISPs lose their tracking powers. Hence, if unblocking Facebook is only the tip of the iceberg to a journey of reclaiming control, choose a VPN.

Anton P.

Anton P.

Former chef and the head of Atlas VPN blog team. He's an experienced cybersecurity expert with a background of technical content writing.

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