Syrian Facebook Ban Due to Fears of Israeli “Infiltration”

 

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      (The only face allowed in Syria.)

Syrian authorities have blocked Facebook, the popular Internet hangout, over what seems to be fears of Israeli “infiltration” of Syrian social networks on the Net, according to residents and media reports. Residents in Damascus said that they have not been able to enter Facebook for more than two weeks. An Associated Press reporter got a blank page when he tried to open the Facebook web page Friday from the Syrian capital… Lebanon’s daily As-Safir reported that Facebook was blocked on Nov. 18. It said the authorities took the step because many Israelis have been entering Syria-based groups… Click for Full Article

Yea, right… “Israeli infiltration,” as if Israel needs Facebook to infiltrate Syria. The truth is of course, that much more than fears over Israeli infiltration, the Syrian regime is concerned with maintaining its grip on power through a suffocating hold over all aspects of the Syrian population. But they continue to use the tried and true ‘blame Israel’ excuse. The recent Facebook ban is entirely consistent with an intensified campaign against bloggers, virtual opinion forums and independent media sites in recent months. A friend of mine living in Damascus told me Facebook is definitely banned at schools though he has managed get on Facebook at some internet cafes which, he suggested, may have found a way around the Facebook ban so as to keep their customers happy (probably by using so called “mirror sites” in my opinion).

And, really, it boggles the mind how the Syrian government and Mukhabarat (intelligence services) missed the Godsent opportunity that is Facebook (not that I’m in favor of their authoritarian methods). Those familiar with Facebook know that its members put up a wealth of information about themselves, their photos, lists of their friends, location, what they do, interests, causes, groups of like minded people etc. etc. That is the fantasy of any authoritarian regime — especially when such information is made available voluntarily by members of the society. These are people that can only see threat in any new innovation, never opportunity. Simply amazing.

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