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Syria boycotts Facebook over Golan Heights

According to al-Quds al-Arabi report, Damascus plans to boycott popular social network after it gives in to pressure to allow residents of Jewish towns in Golan Heights to list Israel as their country of residence

Roee Nahmias
Published: 09.18.09, 11:52 / Israel Culture

Syrian authorities plan to launch a boycott campaign against popular social network Facebook over its decision to allow Israelis living in the Golan Heights to list "Israel" as their country of residence, London-based al-Quds al-Arabi reported on Tuesday.

 

According to the report, until recently, the Golan Heights fell under the country "Syria". Syrian media reported that residents of Jewish towns in the Golan Heights such as Katzrin, Hispin and Magshimim protested the fact that their towns are located, at least according to Facebook, in Syrian territory.

 

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The Jewish residents opened a group protesting this fact, and were able to pressure the social network into changing its settings and allowing them to select Israel as their country of residents in their personal information.

 

This move angered the Syrians, and, according to al-Quds al-Arabi, the Druze residents of the Golan Heights in particular. This quickly led to calls from Syrian websites to "boycott Facebook for the Syrian Golan".

 

But Damascus is not stopping at that. According to the report, official Syrian authorities have blocked access to Facebook, and have apologized to surfers for not enabling them to use the website.

 

The authorities did not provide a reason for blocking the site, but there are those that believe it stems from Syrian concerns that Israelis may take advantage of the opportunity to "infiltrate Syrian social networks."

 

According to previous reports in Syrian media, authorities decided to take this step following incidents in which Israelis entered Syrian chat rooms. Despite the block, it seems Syrians are still able to enter Facebook using a simple program that allows them to bypass the block.

 

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