Syria banning facebook is like stopping an avalanche

28Nov07

I read with interest how Syria has decided to ban Facebook.

Speaking with Reuters, the reason give is:

Facebook helped further civil society in Syria and form civic groups outside government control. This is why it has been banned

I do believe this is somewhat shortsighted. The Internet is like an avalanche that can’t be stopped. Information will continue to flow in ways that are unpredicted. Technology advances quicker than legislation and that all that will innevitbaly happen is that communications will move on to a channel that is not (currently) banned.

Brand Republic pull in some interesting numbers: There are 28,585 members on Facebook’s Syrian network, around 1.9% of the 1,500,000 internet users operating in Syria.

The Syrian government has not yet commented, but according to reports the government has intensified a campaign against bloggers, virtual opinion forums and independent media sites in recent months. One report said that Microsoft’s Hotmail is regularly blocked.

Pedro de Souza commenting on this thought that Syria should follow the Chinese example:

Syrian officials should have negotiated with Facebook, like the Chinese have done with Yahoo: they would send back the IP of the concerned individuals, a simple way to send to jail possible dissidents.

Perhaps Syria’s attempt to ban Facebook will work and that people will no longer use the Internet to find out what’s going on – or perhaps Syria would have more success nailing jelly to a wall.

 

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