Censorship of Facebook
Several countries have interfered with or banned access to the social networking website Facebook, including China, Iran, and North Korea. Use of the website has also been restricted in other ways in other countries. As of May 2016, the only countries to ban access around the clock to the social networking site are China, Iran, and North Korea. However, since the vast majority of North Korean residents do not have access to the internet, China and Iran are the only countries where access to Facebook is actively restricted in a wholesale manner.
Censorship by country
Bangladesh (like Iran, China and North Korea) had banned Facebook before – the Bangladeshi ban operated for a short period of time[when?]. The Awami League-led government of Bangladesh announced a countrywide ban on Facebook and other social-network websites. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina (in office from 2009) proposed the establishment of an Internet monitoring committee with the help of Bangladesh’s intelligence services. Right-wing political parties and groups in Bangladesh protested against bloggers and others they had considered “blasphemous” at the time of the proposal. Extremists in the country had murdered eight secularists , including atheist blogger Ahmed Rajib Haider, who was fatally stabbed in February 2013. National riots over the country’s war-crimes trials resulted in the deaths of 56 people between 19 January 2013 and 2 March 2013.
On 18 November 2015 the same Awami League government banned Facebook again on the eve of the final judgement of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami leader Ali Ahsan Muhammad Mujahid and Bangladesh Nationalist Party leader Salauddin Kader Chowdhury. Both the politicians and previous minister have been issued a death sentence by the War Criminals Tribunal and the review board of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh has finally given their judgement in favour of the previously given one.
The Bangladesh government lifted the ban on 20 December 2015. Facebook is accessible in Bangladesh as of late 2017.
In China, Facebook was blocked following the July 2009 Ürümqi riots because Xinjiang independence activists were using Facebook as part of their communications network. Some Chinese users also believed that Facebook would not succeed in China after Google China‘s problems. The popular Renren social network (formerly Xiaonei) has many features similar to Facebook, and complies with PRC Government regulations regarding content filtering.
As of 20 August 2013, there have been reports of Facebook being partially unblocked in China. But according to the “Blocked in China” website, Facebook is still blocked. However, it is not blocked in Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan (it is also important to note, however, that Taiwan is not in itself under Chinese governing jurisdiction).
In July 2011, authorities in Germany began to discuss the prohibition of events organized on Facebook. The decision is based on numerous cases of overcrowding by people who were not originally invited. In one instance, 1,600 “guests” attended the 16th birthday party for a Hamburg girl who accidentally posted the invitation for the event as public. After reports of overcrowding, more than a hundred police were deployed for crowd control. A police officer was injured and eleven participants were arrested for assault, property damage and resistance to authorities. In another unexpectedly overcrowded event, 41 young people were arrested and at least 16 injured.
In 2015, during the European migrant crisis with large numbers of immigrants entering the country unregulated, a broad discussion about the problems of mass immigration and politics of the actual government took place in social media. In this situation a campaign was started to force Facebook to erase right-wing hate speech. Early in 2016, a Bertelsmann company called “Arvato” was mandated to erase comments and contents from Facebook. Rules and procedure for that censorship, as well as the juridical base is not clear at the moment (January 2016).
The Hungarian goverment doesn’t want to ban pages, but Facebook itselfs decided to ban some conservative website. Nobody can write posts or private messages if it contains the sting “kuruc.info” or link to this conservative website.
The Indian government imposed a one-month ban on Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking sites in Kashmir Valley in 2017, due to public safety because social media were being misused by anti-national and anti-social elements.
After the 2009 election in Iran, the website was banned because of fears that opposition movements were being organized on the website. However, after four years of the blocking of Facebook website, as of September 2013, the blocking of both Twitter and Facebook was thought to have been lifted without notice. Iranians lost unrestricted access to Facebook and Twitter the next day, leaving many people wondering whether the opening was deliberate or the result of some technical glitch.
In September 2016, the Cabinet of Israel has said to have agreed with Facebook to remove content that is deemed as incitement   . This announcment came after top Facebook officials met with the Israeli government to determine which Facebook accounts should be deleted on the grounds that they constituted as incitement. The Israeli interrior ministers office has said that they agreed with Facebook representatives to create teams that would figure out how best to monitor and remove “inflammatory content” online. Critics of Israels policies are not happy with this move as they claim this is being used as a way to silence outspoken Palestinian civilians, activists and journalists. The activists argue that when they post material meant to critique occupation, Israel sees it as encouraging violence.
The and Communication Technologies Authority (ICTA) of Mauritius, ordered internet service providers of the country to ban Facebook on immediate effect, on the 8 November 2007 because of a fake profile page of the Prime Minister. Access to Facebook was restored on the next day.
From April 2016, North Korea starts to block Facebook, for “move underscoring its concern with the spread of online information”. Anyone who tries to access it, even with special permission from the North Korean government, will be subject to punishment.
On May 19, 2010, Lahore High Court ordered Facebook to be blocked. Facebook was blocked until May 31 after a competition page encouraged users to post drawings of Muhammad. The controversial page named “Draw Muhammad Day” had been created by a Facebook user in response to American cartoonist Molly Noris’s protest to the decision of US television channel, Comedy Central to cancel an episode of the popular show “South Park” over its depiction of Mohammed. Noris had however disavowed having declared May 20 “Draw Muhammad Day” and had condemned the effort and issued an apology. The ban, implemented by the PTA, also resulted in a ban on YouTube and restricted access to other websites, including Wikipedia.
On 25 November 2017, the NetBlocks internet shutdown observatory and Digital Rights Foundation collected evidence of nationwide blocking of Facebook alongside other social media services, imposed by the government in response to the violent Tehreek-e-Labaik protests. The technical investigation found that all major Pakistani fixed-line and mobile service providers were affected by the restrictions, which were lifted by the PTA the next day when protests abated following the resignation of Minister for Law and Justice Zahid Hamid. Other websites including Twitter, YouTube and Dailymotion were also reportedly blocked by order of the PTA.
The Syrian government explained their ban by claiming the website promoted attacks on authorities. The government also feared Israeli infiltration of Syrian social networks on Facebook. Facebook was also used by Syrian citizens to criticize the government of Syria, as public criticism of the Syrian government used to be punishable by imprisonment. In February 2011, Facebook was un-blocked from all ISP’s and the website remains to be accessible.
In the United Kingdom on April 28, 2011, the day before the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton, a number of politically motivated Facebook groups and pages were removed or suspended from the website as part of a nationwide crackdown on political activity. The groups and pages were mostly concerned with opposition to government spending cuts, and many were used to organize demonstrations in a continuation of the 2010 UK student protests. The censorship of the pages coincided with a series of pre-emptive arrests of known activists. Amongst the arrestees were a street theater group planning an effigy beheading performance in opposition to the monarchy.
A Facebook spokesman said the pages were disabled as part of a routine sweep because they were created with fake personal profiles, a violation of the company’s term of service. In this case a number of the Facebook personal profile pages represented causes, rather than real people. Facebook “offered to help convert the profiles to pages that are designed to represent companies, groups or causes.” The spokesman went on to say that “the Met Police did not ask Facebook to take down this content.”