Facebook temporarily blocked in Saudi Arabia

Facebook was offline for several hours in Saudi Arabia on Saturday, but was it a technical glitch or a conflict between the social network and the country's mores.

Facebook was down for several hours in Saudi Arabia on Saturday. But was it a technical problem or a takedown by the government?

An official with Saudi Arabia's Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) said Saturday that the social-networking site was temporarily blocked that morning because it doesn't conform to the country's conservative values, according to the Associated Press.

The official, who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity, said Facebook's content "crossed a line" but added that the block was only temporary.

But yesterday, the CITC denied that the site had purposely been blocked, according to Arab News.com. Mideast tech site ITP.net reported that it was "accidental."

"The Facebook blockage was an accidental error which affected some parts of the Kingdom and it resumed its normal operation soon after it was fixed," a CITC representative said, according to ITP.net. "There are no changes to Facebook in the Kingdom; the site will operate as usual."

Facebook has faced bans in other countries. In May, Pakistan temporarily shut down access to the site following a controversy over "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day," which some called blasphemous. The same month, Bangladesh followed suit by blocking Facebook over the same incident.

About the author

Journalist, software trainer, and Web developer Lance Whitney writes columns and reviews for CNET, Computer Shopper, Microsoft TechNet, and other technology sites. His first book, "Windows 8 Five Minutes at a Time," was published by Wiley & Sons in November 2012.

 

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