Posted on | June 2, 2010 | No Comments
The Lahore High Court in Pakistan lifted the country’s ban on Facebook a couple of days ago. That’s not such a surprise, as all initial news stories had reported the ban would last until May 31.
Several interesting things happened during the 13 days the ban was in place:
- Resourceful folks in Pakistan continued to access Facebook through proxy servers but found the site pretty quiet on the whole
- A team of IT professionals in Lahore launched their own version of Facebook — intended to “help you connect and share with more than 1.57 Billion Muslims and Sweet people from other Religions” — which had signed up just 7,000 members as of May 28 and which (I just noticed) has changed its website color from a Facebook-esque blue to an Islamic green
- Bangladesh jumped in with its own Facebook ban, and
- Pakistan hosted its first annual blogging awards, co-sponsored by Google Pakistan and CIO Pakistan.
- Among the winners: Awab Alvi, also known as Teeth Maestro, for best political blog. Alvi was the guy roughed up by anti-Facebook protesters outside the Karachi Press Club.
The first, funny thing about this whole affair is that it was sparked off by the the new media – I first started receiving messages on facebook about a ‘boycott facebook event’ since facebook was refusing to take down the page. Interestingly, Awab Alvi (the blogger roughed up the mob outside the press club) played a major role in popularizing this event – he has the most popular blog in Pakistan and he wrote a very angry post calling for a boycott. Obviously this reached some kind of a critical mass since I received a viral SMS from a student, which supported the boycott and included the standard anti-sematic rant, blaming the whole business on ‘The Jews’. once it had gone viral on SMS then you know everyone is going to end up getting it. Thats when the jamaat’s laywer group swung into action and got the High Court to pass the ban.