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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Third Largest Country Blocked in Some Countries

About a week ago it was announced that Facebook now has more than 500 million users. That officially makes the population of Facebook the third largest country in the world, bigger than the United States by almost 200 million but still half the size of both China and India.

Ironic now is that in a country half the size by population of the United States and lying geographically next to one of the largest countries, that Pakistan joins the largest country--China--in a block of Facebook.

What is going on here? Well, the situation is different between China and Pakistan. And the Pakistan blockade is supposed to be lifted in just a week or so. But still the situation bears consideration.

In China, the ban is permanent or at least there is no foreceable date of the ban being lifted. In China the ban includes Facebook, Google, Twitter and YouTube and is part of the government's communist block against free speech. In Pakistan the ban includes Facebook and YouTube and is a temporary block in protest to a Facebook page which promotes the drawing of Mohammed, which is against the Muslim faith.

What is very interesting to me is that Pakistan's Interior Minister Rehman Malik turned to Twitter for his social media "fix" after his son explained that Twitter should work for him. By the way, it was reported on NPR four days ago that the original Facebook page which was offensive to Islam has now been removed, possibly by the page creator.

Social Media is more than a past time. For many of us it is the most important tool for our business communications and marketing. What is your view about the Pakistan blockade?
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  1. Very interesting. It amazes me that China blocks all of those sites. Such a wealth of modern information that they are missing out on.

  2. It actually stuns me to realize they have that sort of control. I wonder what the true purpose is of such an all-encompassing ban. Is it really to protest the "Western Media?"

    As Keith says, the people of China, (and now Pakistan) are missing out on a wealth of information caused by this ban, but many are also missing out on family, friend, and business connections as a result.

    More than sending a message to the western media, I think these governments also hope to send a message of warning to the citizens of their own countries, which I deem despicable.

  3. I agree when you say Social Media is more then a Past time. For most Software Houses in Pakistan Social Media & Internet Marketing is a Key Revenue Generator...We have Highly Qualified Individuals/Teams who work on Facebook Application, Building Pages, Developing Marketing Strategies etc.

    Being a part of that system I am well aware of Facebook Terms & Policies. They clearly say that any pages involving hate speech,Targeting people based on their race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, or disease is a serious violation of our standards. I think Facebook needs to revisit the rules and regulations it made...

    We all talk about Freedom of speech. Does that Freedom give us the Liberty to insult anyone? Does that mean that if I want to draw a picture of my teacher F***ed by a Donkey & post it all over the School Notice Board just because she give me a bad grade....

    I think more then Freedom of speech we need to develop tolerance & patience as human beings

  4. Hello Mr. Saleem,

    I'm pleased to make your acquaintance. You and your talented associates provide many valuable services here in America, and we recognize you as integral to the Social Media revolution taking place throughout the world today.

    I was under the impression that Facebook had removed the offensive material as soon as it was reported. If not, then they do, indeed, need to audit the site more thoroughly. I have reported offensive material more than once (threatening hate messages directed at our President), and have been impressed with the speed at which it was taken down.

    As for freedom of speech in America? Unfortunately, Mr. Saleem, it sometimes means having a spirited discourse of intellectual ideas, but it also means sometimes putting up with outrageous and idiotic nonsense. It is considered to be two sides of the same coin.

    I wish the government of Pakistan had found another way to confront this issue rather than the broad stroke of banning, which hurt everyone accross the board, and not just Facebook as an entity.

    I think we all should feel offended when any one of us is mocked for our beliefs. That is most definitely NOT the true American Way. But to ban the communication tool which could effectively cancel out this offensive material with an avalanche of wisdom, tolerance and support? Counterproductive, in my opinion.

  5. Thanks Jo for your reply

    Unfortunately Facebook has not removed the pages/Groups & puts a deaf ear on the whole issue....

    Youtube removed the content & is back in Action in Pakistan.

    The Government I agree could have done something maybe blocking the pages/groups

    Still what the Government did/Did not do does not make the Facebook Management less Accountable on what they did!

    I think Mr. Mark should go read the policies again