Syria and Facebook, cont.

The Guardian's Ian Black has this important tidbit on Syria post-Facebook unbanning:

Syrian users have now been blocked from entering the word "proxy" in any search engine and any page with the word "proxy" in the URL address will not open. Syrians, in short, have lost internet anonymity. "Under the guise of lifting restrictions on the internet, the authorities have in fact tightened their control," warns Malik al-Abdeh of London-based Barada TV. "No sane internet user will enter the now unblocked Facebook and visit a page that contains criticisms of the regime, or, worse still, a page that organises demonstrations as the Egyptians and Tunisians have done. The irony is that Syrian internet users are actually better off under the old system. Unblocking Facebook while cracking down on proxies and https, and maintaining the same censorship apparatus run by the secret police, is totally meaningless." Not much sign, then, of a revival of the short-lived Damascus spring of Bashar al-Assad's early days.

 

2 Comments

Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.