It seems like nothing is going right for Facebook at this time. In addition to the privacy havoc, user complaints and a movie ridiculing its founder, Facebook is now facing a complete country-wide ban in Pakistan. The order to ban Facebook came from a Pakistani Highcourt when Facebook failed to take an initiative in acting against a controversial group that invited people to draw Mohammad’s cartoons.
Interestingly, the group inviting people to draw cartoons only has 42,000 members while the group that is asking Facebook to take action against this has 58,000 members. This however, has failed to get Facebook’s attention. After lots of protests and boycott-Facebook campaigns online, people also gathered on the streets of Pakistan to push Facebook for an action. When disappointed, users appealed the Government to intervene and as a result the ban was issued.
Right now when somebody in Pakistan logs on to Facebook.com, they see a blank page with the message “This site is restricted”. Facebook currently has over 1.8 million users in Pakistan, which may not sound that large of a number but given the tremendous growth Facebook is experiencing in that region, Facebook cannot afford to loose that userbase.
However, it is very probable that the ban will not be permanent. Lot of users in Pakistan are already angry and think that this will only create more hype of the issue. Previously, Pakistan has placed similar bans on YouTube and Blogger.com which were soon revoked.
[Image Credit Dawn]