Tuesday, 2 October 2007

UAE Facebook Ban Shock Horror Rubbish

Today’s Khaleej Times decorated its front page with a breathless little story about a ban on Facebook: ‘Facebook Users Face Orkut Fears’ the headline trumpets. Well, not really trumpets. More like bugles, a sort of reedy, tinny, parping sound.

The story is one of those that should have been strangled at birth. There have been connectivity issues over the past few days from the UAE, likely a router or two taken out over in the US and a number of links, and therefore a number of sites, have consequently been up and down and on and off.

So Facebook users in the UAE have been rushing off to their favourite place and finding the site’s just timing out on them. And, according to KT, they’ve been scared that this means Facebook, as Orkut was before it, has been banned for being a ‘dating site’.

It is perhaps worth mentioning that the whole Web 2.0 adoption thing in the UAE is being slightly held back by the fact that many cool Twitter-like things have been banned because they encourage ‘dating’.

When the UAE content filter decides that something’s just too naughty or interesting to be looked at by our delicate, tender little eyes, the site gets blocked and you get the above, quite distinctive, message on your screen. The lack of such a message (sites affected over the past couple of days have just been timing out. I’ve personally been having huge issues with Blogger, Google and Yahoo at various times) is something that the Facebook users fearing a ban have presumably been failing to think through.

Contacting the telco (Etisalat) and the regulator, KT’s reporter was told by both that there was no ban in place and that there had been connectivity issues. The regulator told KT that readers having access issues could use the Du network instead, which did rather make me chuckle given the user feedback we’ve been seeing here on FPS. Most people would conclude at that stage that they had a non story on their hands, rather than a front page blast as the story really boils down to ‘Stupid People Find Nothing is Happening’.

Or, perhaps, if you wanted to run with it and be sensible: ‘UAE Internet Failures Irk Users’.


i*maginate said...

lol cool post - I mean entertaining read.

Alexander said...

Why, thank you! :)

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