Posted by Nick O'Neil
This morning I’ve been receiving numerous reports that Iran has blocked Facebook. After doing a little searching around I found an article stating that it was blocked “to prevent supporters of the leading opposition candidate from using the site for his campaign.” Mir Hossein Mousavi has attracted over 5,200 supporters on the site. While it’s far from a majority of voters, it was clearly the beginning of a movement that the Ahmadinejad regime was not a fan of.
This isn’t the first time that Iran has blocked Facebook. In 2006 the site was banned for being “illegal” but in February of this year the site was unblocked again. Facebook had become the 10th most popular site in Iran according to Radio Free Europe. Political activists in Iran have become heavily active on the site, which is exactly the concern of the current regime. Less than six months later the site is back down and while many users expect the site to return after the election, many Iranians are more than a bit frustrated.
As one commenter posted on my profile wall this morning, using proper internet linguistics, “nick :( facebook now filtered in iran :( enjoy facebook with out us :(”. As the Radio Free America article suggested back in March, “many people don’t expect the Facebook access will be permanent.” Those speculators turned out to be correct and now the site is down and any hopes of a movement within Iran, sparked by Facebook activity is hopeless for the time being.
While Facebook’s latest of service technically blocks Iran from using the site, the company has publicly stated that they have no intention of blocking Iranian users. As a Facebook spokesman stated, “We have allowed, and plan to continue to allow, users to set up accounts from those countries and communicate, as long as they are not engaging in commercial activities on the sites.”
Unfortunately for the Iranians, they have a regime in place that doesn’t support freedom of speech and would prefer to run a dictatorship. Hopefully the citizens eventually get access to Facebook granted to them.