Syria to Block Facebook, and Arab World to Boycott

syria_onlineSince last week, Syrian government was incensed by Facebook decision to un-follow the lead of the United Nations and European Union, which all highlights the Golan Heights (spelled in Arabic – Jawlan) as occupied territory of Syria.

Facebook has responded favorably last week to Facebook group of Jewish settlers in the Golan and pro-Israelis to change the designation of the contested region from Syria to Israel.

Facebook users in Israeli-occupied parts of the Golan used to find that they were automatically designated as residents of Syria while filling their profiles, which used to anger them and revengefully started supporting an opponent group “Golan residents live in Israel, not Syria” which has more than 2,600 members as of Sept 16th, 2009. This group is also supported by Honest Reporting portal, a watchdog for Israeli government in media.

Israel seized the Golan Heights from Syria during 1967 war and has continued to occupy majority of the land ever since.

As a result, Syria has decided to block Facebook in Damascus and launch a campaign calling for a boycott of Facebook across the Arab World because of the reckless decision, according to al-Quds al-Arabi, a London-based Arabic  newspaper.

Syria has previously blocked access to Facebook in 2007 as part of a crackdown on political activism on the Internet.

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Tarek is the founder and chief researcher at Youngberry, a youth research and marketing firm dedicated to the region. Tarek founded interactiveME.com and previously worked as Manager at Flip Media (Interactive Agency), Bayt.com (Job Site) and Consulting House Qatar (Consulting firm). He is researcher and writer on internet & disruptive innovation, entrepreneurship, and youth culture.