Censorship of Facebook

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Main article: Internet censorship

Censorship of Facebook has occurred because of the wide range of inflammatory posts present on the website; several countries have interfered with or banned access to it, including Syria,[1] China,[2] Iran[3] and Bangladesh.[4]

Censorship by country[edit]


The Awami League-led government of Bangladesh announced a countrywide ban on Facebook and other social network websites. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina proposed the establishment of an Internet monitoring committee with the help of Bangladesh's intelligence services. Previously the government has been blocking websites. Right wing political parties and groups have been protesting blasphemous posts by bloggers that have resulted in 8 deaths at the time of the proposal. Blogger Ahmed Rajib Haider was stabbed to death on 15 February 2013. National riots over country's war crimes trials have killed 56 people between 19 January 2013 and 2 March 2013.[5][6][7]

On 18 November 2015, the same Awami League govt banned Facebook again on the eve of the final judgement of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami leader Ali Ahsan Muhammad Mujahid and Bangladesh Nationalist Party leader Salauddin Kader Chowdhury. Both the politicians and previous minister have been issued Sentenced of Death by the controversial War Criminals Tribunal and the review board of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh has finally given their judgement in favour of the previously given judgement.


In China, Facebook was blocked following the July 2009 Ürümqi riots[2] because Xinjiang independence activists were using Facebook as part of their communications network.[8] Some Chinese users also believed that Facebook would not succeed in China after Google China's problems.[9] The popular Renren social network (formerly Xiaonei) has many features similar to Facebook, and complies with PRC Government regulations regarding content filtering.

As of 20 August 2013, there have been reports of Facebook being partially unblocked in China.[10] But according to the "Blocked in China" website, Facebook is still blocked.[11]


Facebook was blocked for a few days in Egypt during the 2011 Egyptian protests.[12]


In July 2011, authorities in Germany began to discuss the prohibition of events organized on Facebook. The decision is based on numerous cases of overcrowding by people who were not originally invited.[13][14] In one instance, 1,600 "guests" attended the 16th birthday party for a Hamburg girl who accidentally posted the invitation for the event as public. After reports of overcrowding, more than a hundred police were deployed for crowd control. A police officer was injured and eleven participants were arrested for assault, property damage and resistance to authorities.[15] In another unexpectedly overcrowded event, 41 young people were arrested and at least 16 injured.[16]


After the 2009 election in Iran, the website was banned because of fears that opposition movements were being organized on the website.[3] However, after four years of the blocking of Facebook website, as of September 2013, the blocking of both Twitter and Facebook was thought to have been lifted without notice.[17] Iranians lost unrestricted access to Facebook and Twitter the next day, leaving many people wondering whether the opening was deliberate or the result of some technical glitch.[18]


The Information and Communication Technologies Authority (ICTA) of Mauritius, ordered Internet Service Providers(ISPs) of the country to ban Facebook on immediate effect, on the 8 November 2007 because of a fake profile page of the Prime Minister. Access to Facebook was restored on the next day.[19][20][21]


On February 5, 2008, Fouad Mourtada, a citizen of Morocco, was arrested for the alleged creation of a faked Facebook profile of Prince Moulay Rachid of Morocco.[22][23]

North Korea[edit]

As the people are forbidden from accessing non-authorized foreign media, Facebook is banned and access is forbidden in North Korea.


On August 1, 2014, Facebook blocked "a march for the federalization of Siberia" event page by request of the Prosecutor General.[24] The event was planned for August 17 in Novosibirsk, a demonstration that organizers said would take place under slogans calling for Siberia to "stop feeding Moscow" and to "create a Siberian Republic" within Russia.[25]


The Syrian government explained their ban by claiming the website promoted attacks on authorities.[1][26] The government also feared Israeli infiltration of Syrian social networks on Facebook.[1] Facebook was also used by Syrian citizens to criticize the government of Syria, as public criticism of the Syrian government used to be punishable by imprisonment.[1] In February 2011, Facebook was un-blocked from all ISP's and the website remains to be accessible.


In November 2012, Tajikistan blocked access to Facebook in response to comments posted online, spreading “mud and slander” about President Emomalii Rahmon and various other officials.[27]

South Africa[edit]

In South Africa riots have occurred intermittently due to Facebook statuses of public figures or fake profiles created by media hungry social entrepreneurs and unknowing followers reading these posts. The government may have looked at regulation through existing broadcast media laws for ideas how to regulate the internet broadcasting in UTP packets. Causing SABC and ISPs to be linked.[citation needed]

United Kingdom[edit]

In the United Kingdom on April 28, 2011, the day before the Wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton, a number of politically motivated Facebook groups and pages were removed or suspended from the website as part of a nationwide crackdown on political activity. The groups and pages were mostly concerned with opposition to government spending cuts, and many were used to organize demonstrations in a continuation of the 2010 UK student protests.[28][29][30] The censorship of the pages coincided with a series of pre-emptive arrests of known activists.[31] Amongst the arrestees were a street theater group planning an effigy beheading performance in opposition to the monarchy, whose members included a 66-year-old professor of anthropology.[32]

A Facebook spokesman said the pages were disabled as part of a routine sweep because they were created with fake personal profiles, a violation of the company’s term of service. In this case a number of the Facebook personal profile pages represented causes, rather than real people. Facebook "offered to help convert the profiles to pages that are designed to represent companies, groups or causes."[30] The spokesman went on to say that "the Met Police did not ask Facebook to take down this content."[29]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Yacoub Oweis, Khaled (November 23, 2007). "Syria blocks Facebook in Internet crackdown". Reuters. Retrieved March 5, 2008. 
  2. ^ a b "China's Facebook Status: Blocked". ABC News. July 8, 2009. Retrieved July 13, 2009. 
  3. ^ a b "Facebook Faces Censorship in Iran". American Islamic Congress. August 29, 2007. Retrieved April 30, 2008. 
  4. ^ http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-34860667
  5. ^ Agence France Presse (2013-03-15). "Bangladesh to snoop online in ‘blasphemy’ crackdown". Dawn. Retrieved 2013-03-17. 
  6. ^ Agence France Presse (2013-03-13). "Hindu temples, homes under attack across Bangladesh". Gulf Times. Retrieved 2013-03-17. 
  7. ^ Agence France Presse (2013-03-02). "Bangladesh students held for murder of anti-Islam blogger". Dawn. Retrieved 2013-03-17. 
  8. ^ "80 pct of netizens agree China should punish Facebook". The People's Daily Online. July 10, 2009. Retrieved July 13, 2009. 
  9. ^ "Facebook上演戏剧 纸老虎"非死不可"". May 14, 2010. Retrieved June 9, 2010. 
  10. ^ "Facebook And Twitter In China!". Headline Asia (South China Morning Post, published 2013-08-19). 2013-08-20. Retrieved 2013-12-10. 
  11. ^ "Test If Any Website Is Blocked In China". BlockedInChina.net. Retrieved August 2, 2014. 
  12. ^ "Facebook reported inaccessible in Egypt". Google/Agence France-Presse. 26 Jan 2011. 
  13. ^ "Alemanha: Festas convocadas pelo Facebook são "ameaça à ordem pública"". Ptjornal.com. Retrieved October 29, 2011. 
  14. ^ "Alemanha pode proibir festas combinadas pelo Facebook". Destakjornal.com.br. Retrieved October 29, 2011. [dead link]
  15. ^ "Facebook blunder invites 15,000 to teen's 16th birthday party; 100 cops show up, too". LIBR Guides. July 18, 2015. 
  16. ^ "Germany aims to break the events through Facebook" (in Spanish). lomejorprogramasparafb.com. March 30, 2015. Retrieved March 30, 2015. 
  17. ^ "Iran Unblocks Twitter and Facebook". Chris Taylor. Mashable. August 17, 2013. Retrieved August 17, 2013. 
  18. ^ Erdbrink, Thomas (September 17, 2013). "Iran Bars Social Media Again After a Day". The New York Times. 
  19. ^ "Facebook: A Mauritian tragedy?". Noulakaz. 2007-11-08. Retrieved 2011-10-29. 
  20. ^ "Facebook outage in Mauritius – it’s been censored!!! | Sometimes life is good…". Pascalg.wordpress.com. 2007-11-08. Retrieved 2011-10-29. 
  21. ^ "Maurice censure le site communautaire Facebook". L'express. Retrieved 9 Nov 2007. 
  22. ^ "Police arrest man for 'villainous' theft of prince's ID on Facebook". CNN. February 7, 2008. Retrieved March 5, 2008. 
  23. ^ "Moroccan held for alleged royal ID theft". The New York Times. February 7, 2008. Retrieved March 5, 2008. 
  24. ^ Павел Быковских [Paul Bykovskikh] (August 1, 2014). Организаторы марша за федерализацию Сибири подали уведомление в мэрию [Organizers of the march for the federalization of Siberia served notice to the mayor] (in Russian). Сибинфо [Sibinfo].  English translation.
  25. ^ Kichanova, Vera (August 1, 2014). "Siberian artist: "We give away our resources and get piles of dumb laws in return"". Slon.ru (Euromaidan Press). 
  26. ^ "Syrian gov't blocks use of Facebook". The Jerusalem Post. November 24, 2007. Retrieved March 8, 2008. 
  27. ^ Tajikistan blocks Facebook access to silence critics, International: Reuters, November 27, 2012 
  28. ^ Malik, Shiv (April 29, 2011). "Activists claim purge of Facebook pages". The Guardian (London). 
  29. ^ a b "Facebook 'suspends UK activist groups' - Channel 4 News". Channel4.com. 2011-04-29. Retrieved 2011-10-29. 
  30. ^ a b Preston, Jennifer (April 29, 2011). "Facebook Deactivates Protest Pages in Britain". The New York Times. 
  31. ^ Booth, Robert; Laville, Sandra; Malik, Shiv (April 29, 2011). "Royal wedding: police criticised for pre-emptive strikes against protesters". The Guardian (London). 
  32. ^ "Royal wedding: Three held over effigy beheading claims". BBC News. April 29, 2011.