The UAE shot into the top ten trending topics on Twitter, following an outcry from social media users on Sunday’s news that the country plans to ban BlackBerrys.
Twitterers took to the internet to protest an announcement from the UAE’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), that it plans to suspend the device from October amid security concerns over BlackBerry Messenger, BlackBerry email and BlackBerry web services.
BlackBerry devices route data through an offshore provider, allowing users to send messages that can’t be monitored by UAE authorities.
On Twitter, social media users reacted quickly. Here is a sample of the comments:
Haboushy: They are killing the BlackBerry craze as of Oct 11. So much for a ‘modernized’ UAE.
forzaq8: What is the BlackBerry without its BBM service? Flood of new/used BB from the UAE coming soon.
Shaluc: Why October? If it threatens the social and national security of UAE, shouldn't the BlackBerry ban be immediate?
LivelyBrunette: Dear Blackberry, I won. Love, Apple.
By 1pm, the words ‘BlackBerry’ ‘suspend’ and ‘Etisalat’ were charting over the UAE on real-time Twitter mapping tool, Trendsnet.
There are an estimated 500,000 BlackBerry users in the UAE; the devices are thought to comprise about 10 percent of the country’s mobile phones.
Bloggers are also weighing in on the debate. Writing on his site Fake Plastic Souks, prominent Dubai-based blogger Alexander McNabb asked whether BlackBerry users will receive a refund if the ban goes ahead.
“I look forward to this move being 'clarified',” he wrote. “As it stands, it's yet another attempt to bomb ourselves back into the digital stone age. The madness of it all is that nothing has changed about the BlackBerry or the way in which the device works… since [it] was first introduced to the UAE. If you can't live with it now - you shouldn't have sold it to us back then.”
Research In Motion, the Canadian maker of the BlackBerry, was not immediately available for comment.
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