Syria is in the process of lifting the five-year ban on Facebook. This is a historical moment for the country, especially given the recent events in the Middle East.
The Syrian magazine says:
Syrian authorities will lift a five-year ban on Facebook as of today, Forward Syria can confirm.
Officially banned in Syria for over five years, Facebook and other banned social networking sites, like YouTube enjoy popular usage across the country by Syrians using international proxy servers to bypass firewalls blocking the sites.
No official announcement is expected to be made on the decision but users report You Tube has already unblocked on some ISP servers.
No specific time frame for can be confirmed while technical operations to lift the ban come into effect.
The timing of the news is interesting considering that there are already Syrians calling on others to help create another Facebook-powered revolution in the country. While my guess is that the people organizing the movement were not based in Syria, the timing couldn’t be more interesting.
Egypt recently took extreme measures by shutting off the internet completely. The result was that Facebook became inaccessible, only furthering the anger among protesters. Internet access was eventually returned and the protests have continued. Perhaps Syria has learned a lesson from Egypt in that Facebook is not solely responsible for the organization of individuals in the country.
While we cannot confirm or deny the reinstatement of Facebook in Syria, I’m sure it will be huge news once it happens. Currently, Facebook does not include statistics about the size of the Syrian user base given the previous ban. If this news is in fact confirmed, it will be interesting to see how many people join the site.