Facebook, WhatsApp, Viber blocked ‘indefinitely’ in Bangladesh

The Bangladeshi government has moved to block six social apps – Facebook, Messenger, Line, WhatsApp, Viber, and Tango – citing security reasons stemming from its decision to award the death penalty to two opposition leaders. The decision came after the country’s Supreme Court upheld an earlier ruling to execute the pair for crimes committed during the 1971 war, reports DW.

This is not the first time that social networking sites have been blocked in the country. In 2010, Bangladesh invoked a ‘temporary ban’ on Facebook after satirical images of the Prophet Muhammad were uploaded and shared. At the time, the Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (BTRC) said the images had “hurt religious sentiments for the majority Muslim population.” Thousands of demonstrators had also taken to the streets demanding a ban.

Image by Faisal Akram

However, this time around, the circumstances are somewhat different. The country remains divided on the decision to award the death penalty as well as the effectiveness of the ban. Religious fundamentalism is also creeping into the mainstream – the past few months have seen attacks on secular bloggers and publishers – with the self styled ‘Islamic State’ (sometimes referred to as ISIS) claiming responsibility.

Despite the web censorship, people are still accessing the blocked sites. A number of Twitter feeds and Facebook posts are showing netizens how to circumvent the ban by using proxy/VPN servers.

To avoid #Bangladesh government ban on social-media tools like #Facebook download Tor: https://t.co/TmEbNGHBeQ pic.twitter.com/ChTx6iXuMk

— Bangladesh News 24 (@bdnews24) November 18, 2015

Others have found a funny, ironic side to the whole facade.

Day 5 of the Facebook ban in Bangladesh, and the government is using Facebook to talk about satellites + oranges. pic.twitter.com/Tvw0UsR6bd

— Zara Rahman (@zararah) November 22, 2015

Due to temporary ban of #Facebook in #Bangladesh I have realized how much my mobile phone's battery life is performing better then before !

— Rakib Uddin (@rakibsayz) November 23, 2015

On the whole, citizens are definitely not impressed.

Is the #Bangladesh ban on #Facebook and other social-media tools effecting your social & business life?

— Bangladesh News 24 (@bdnews24) November 21, 2015

Source: Deutsche Welle

See: No calls, no texts, no data: Pakistan shuts down telecommunications for two days

This post Facebook, WhatsApp, Viber blocked ‘indefinitely’ in Bangladesh appeared first on Tech in Asia.