Saudi Arabia ‘Accidentally’ Blocks Facebook

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Saudi Arabia has reportedly blocked access to Facebook, but officials called the incident an ‘accidental error’

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia reportedly blocked access to Facebook over the weekend, but the country’s Communication and Information Technology Commission (CITC) said on Monday that the incident was the result of an “accidental error”.

On Saturday the Associated Press quoted an official from the CITC as saying that Facebook’s content had “crossed a line” with regard to the conservative kingdom’s moral values, and that as a result it had been blocked. Saudi Arabia has an estimated 1.5 million Facebook users, according to the report.

Mistake

However, on Monday the CITC said the block had been the result of a mistake, and had only affected “some parts” of the kingdom.

“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,” said CITC spokesman Sultan Malik, according to a report in United Arab Emirates-based IT news website ITP.net. “There are no changes to Facebook in the Kingdom; the site will operate as usual.”

The incident occurred on the weekend before the Hajj, the annual Muslim pilgrimage, which by Monday had attracted about 1.8 million Muslims from 181 countries to Mecca, according to the Saudi Press Agency.

Facebook has faced bans in Pakistan, over an international competition to draw the Prophet Muhammad, and in Bangladesh, also over cartoons of the Prophet.

Over the summer concerns developed that the UAE and Saudi Arabia would block BlackBerry use, but the issue was resolved in October.

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