Azerbaijan blocked TikTok and Google Play Store amid military offensive in Nagorno-Karabakh


September 19, 2023 - October 31, 2023
google play store
published by Maria Xynou on November 1, 2023

Between 19th to 20th September 2023, Azerbaijan launched a military offensive in Nagorno-Karabakh. On 19th September 2023, TikTok users in Azerbaijan reported that access to the platform was restricted. OONI data collected from Azerbaijan shows that ISPs started blocking access to TikTok and to the Google Play Store on 19th September 2023.

The following chart aggregates OONI measurement coverage from the testing of and in Azerbaijan between 1st September 2023 to 1st November 2023.


Chart: OONI Probe testing of and in Azerbaijan between 1st September 2023 to 1st November 2023 (source: OONI MAT).

As is evident, the testing of both TikTok and the Google Play Store started to present a spike in anomalies on 19th September 2023, while both domains were previously found accessible on tested networks in Azerbaijan. These anomalies – combined with user reports – suggest that access to these services was blocked.

Between 1st September 2023 to 1st November 2023, TikTok was tested on 16 ASNs in Azerbaijan and presented anomalies on multiple networks – all of which started on 19th September 2023 – providing a strong signal of blocking. Moreover, the testing of TikTok endpoints (such as,, also presented anomalies from 19th September 2023 onwards, suggesting that access to both TikTok’s website and mobile app was blocked. Notably, on some networks (such as AS57293), OONI data did not present any anomalies, suggesting that access to TikTok was not blocked on all networks. As of 31st October 2023, access to TikTok appears to have been unblocked in Azerbaijan.

Unlike TikTok (which OONI data suggests was blocked for more than a month), the testing of the Google Play Store only presented anomalies between 19th to 25th September 2023, suggesting that the block was short-lived. During this period, the testing of presented anomalies on 4 ASNs in Azerbaijan.

Overall, most of the anomalous measurements (from the testing of both TikTok and the Google Play Store) show connection timeouts after the TLS ClientHello message during the TLS handshakes, suggesting TLS level interference. This is consistent with how we have previously found internet censorship to be implemented in Azerbaijan.

This was not the first time that Azerbaijan blocked access to TikTok. In September 2022, amid border clashes with Armenia, both Azerbaijan and Armenia blocked access to TikTok. At the time, Azerbaijan started blocking access to TikTok on 14th September 2022, and lifted the block around 5th November 2022. Azerbaijan is therefore repeating the pattern of blocking access to TikTok for more than a month following the start of a conflict.