Social media, while home to endless cat pictures and game updates, is an excellent medium for voicing social discontent and advocating against authority, whatever that authority may be. Such is the case in politics, where citizens voice their opinion on social media networks to reach a larger audience. Now Facebook has received the proverbial banhammer in Tajikistan, which has blocked access to the website due to “mud and slander.”
Service providers in Tajikistan were ordered to block users from accessing Facebook due to a myriad of complaints regarding what was considered unsavory statements about the country’s officials and president. Following along with the orders, a total of six mobile and Internet providers blocked the social network. Allegedly, the public has praised the move, “flooding” the Telecommunications agency with positive calls.
Tajikistan’s Office of Telecommunications’ Beg Zukhorov offered this statement. “I received many calls from citizens of Tajikistan asking me to shut down this Facebook as a hotbed of slander. Unknown people there insult the leaders of the state. They are apparently being paid well for that … My phone has literally exploded with calls from grateful citizens who happily greeted the news of the closure of the site, and only a few will see this as a negative step.”
Thus far, Facebook has not issued a response, saying only that it is not, at this point, “taking any active action.” The Tajik agency extended an invitation to Mark Zuckerberg to discuss the matter in its Dushanbe office. Not surprisingly, this isn’t the first time Tijikistan has blocked access to Facebook, having already done so once for a little over a week in reaction to posted criticism of the country’s president.