Facebook page banned by Pakistan is back online

A scared moderator is said to have removed the page after his e-mail and Skype account were hacked

The Facebook page that led the Pakistan government to ban the entire site was back online Saturday, at least for some users, after it was inaccessible for about two days.

The page was removed Thursday after one of the moderators had his e-mail and Skype account hacked into, and his personal data revealed, according to a post on the page on Saturday. The moderator then got scared and deleted the page, a blog, and e-mails, according to the post.

"This is another scare tactic from the Islamic extremists," the post said. "We won't fall," it added. The moderator who removed the page has however backed out, according to the post.

The page had over 108,000 fans and over 11,700 photos posted on Saturday. Though the Facebook users who created the page put it back up Saturday, some users in India were able to access it for only a brief time before their access was once again blocked. Meanwhile access to Facebook as a whole continues to be blocked in Pakistan.

The page "Everybody draw Mohammed Day!" invites users to post caricatures of Prophet Mohammed, which led a court in Pakistan to order the site to be blocked.

There were also a large number of protests on the streets of Pakistan on Wednesday and Thursday, objecting to the page.

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) on Wednesday ordered operators to block Facebook on Wednesday until further orders. It also ordered YouTube to be blocked on Thursday for displaying "sacrilegious" content. It said it had also blocked over 450 links on the Internet that contained derogatory material.

"Facebook has not taken any action on this page," a spokeswoman for the company said earlier on Saturday. The company had said on Thursday that it would not rule out making the content that Pakistan objected to inaccessible to users in Pakistan.

When dealing with user-generated content on global Web sites, there are occasions where content that is illegal in one country is not, or may even be protected, in another, Facebook said on Thursday. Most companies, including Facebook, approach this issue by preventing certain content from being shown to users in the countries where it is illegal, it added.

The PTA has said it would welcome contact from Facebook and YouTube to resolve the issue.

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John Ribeiro

IDG News Service
Topics: censorship, Facebook
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