As reported in Herald Sun (Australia), "Facebook is disappointed at being blocked in Pakistan over a contest that encourages users to post caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed and may make the offending page inaccessible to users there."
Either it has been reported that way or it is really so lame. "We are very disappointed with the Pakistani courts' decision to block Facebook without warning, and suspect our users there feel the same way," Facebook said according to the news report. Maybe some users feel that way but most I know are appluading the ban (a good place to get an idea of general reaction is one of the recent posts on Teethmaestro Blog).
I also happily accepted the ban at least till May 31 but there is something about this recent statement from Facebook which makes me feel I can go along with a permanent ban. The Facebook representative is reported to have said, "We will take appropriate action, which may include making this content inaccessible to users in Pakistan."
Wow! So it is wrong if my own government prevents me and it is right when Facebook does the same! If it's going to be someone else's decision how I access the Internet then I prefer it to be my government rather than Facebook.
Facebook still did not agree to remove that "offensive page". It is simply offering, oh so graciously, to make the page invisible for Pakistani users. Worse than having that page in the first place, actually, because it means that the page stays there but only Pakistani users become unable to notice it. That is a huge concession Facebook people are asking for themselves and yet making it sound as if they are offering a favor.
Something else in the Facebook statement is even more dubious. Reportedly the statement from the Palo Alto, California-based social network said, "We want Facebook to be a place where people can openly discuss issues and express their views, while respecting the rights and feelings of others..." (Sounds like Ms. Anne Patterson announcing before the world that the US authorities have "no definitive knowledge" about Dr. Aafia Siddiqui's children). The statement goes on to say, "We don't typically take down content, groups or pages that speak out against countries, religions, political entities, or ideas."
But sometimes they do. Not very long ago they took down the page of People's Resistance, a broad-based Pakistani group working for the restoration of judiciary in Pakistan. Facebook removed that page (not just making it inaccessible in Pakistan). It also sent warnings to the group. (Read about this on Teeth Maestro).
So, Facebook does not "typically" do that but "a-typically" it removed a page that was calling for peaceful restoration of judiciary in Pakistan. That stupid contest of May 20 is a big deal but restoration of judiciary in Pakistan is a trivial matter that Facebook team did not even mention it while making these blanket statements?
Facebook might be disappointed with the Pakistani courts' decision but many Pakistani users were disappointed with Facebook already, and after reading this statement I feel: social media network, my foot! Is this the kind of people I would like to trust for my social media networking?