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Sun 14 Nov 2010 10:45 AM

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Saudi Arabia orders Facebook ban in morality row

Around 1.5m users in kingdom unable to access site after temporary ban imposed by kingdom

Saudi Arabia orders Facebook ban in morality row

Facebook, the popular social networking site, was temporarily blocked in Saudi Arabia over the weekend for failing to conform with the kingdom's values.

Associated Press quoted a spokesman at the kingdom’s communications authority as saying the website had 'crossed a line' with the country's conservative values, leading to a brief block on Saturday.

Over a period of a few hours,  users attempting to access the site were greeted with an error message.

The reason the Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) reversed its decision hours later was not immediately clear.

In May, a Pakistan court ordered a block of Facebook after members of the site hosted a competition featuring caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad.

Bangladesh imposed a ban on the site later the same month.

Earlier this year, a Facebook spokesman told Arabian Business that there are around 1.5m subscribers to the site in Saudi Arabia.

“Across the MENA region, we have 10m active users from a total of 400m subscribers worldwide,” added Trevor Johnson, Facebook’s head of strategy and planning for the EMEA region.

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