An anonymous member of Saudi Arabia Communications and Information Technology Commission told the AP that the kingdom had banned Facebook, for “crossing a line” that offended sensitivities. The ban was lifted a few hours later, with no further explanation of what the moral crisis was.
Facebook has long been a source of controversy in Saudi Arabia. Popular preacher Ali al-Maliki has long complained that young people spend more money on the internet and mobile phones than they do on food, and some conservative factions have responded sharply. In one extreme instance in 2008, a father beat and shot his daughter for chatting with a man online. Nevertheless, one of the most popular groups for young Saudis is “Single and Looking in Saudi Arabia.”
Earlier this year, two other Muslim countries such as Pakistan and Bangladesh placed a temporary ban on Facebook during the controversy over satirical cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. The ban was lifted soon after, and Facebook assured the Pakistani authorities that no offensive religious material would be accessible through the site. Since there is no indication of what sparked the current ban in Saudi Arabia, it is unknown whether the Palo Alto-based company reached a similar agreement with the Saudi authorities over some offensive content or other, or whether the lifting of the ban was the result of internal pressures in the kingdom.
Read More at AllFacebook.com
Read More at Boston.com
Read More at The Telegraph.