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Saudi Arabia Blocks Facebook on Moral Grounds, Promptly Unblocks It

facebook loginOn Saturday, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia unexpectedly blocked access to Facebook, amid concerns that the social networking site had been posing a threat to the country's conservative moral code. When news of the ban first broke, it appeared that Saudi Arabia was following in the footsteps of Bangladesh and Pakistan, both of which had blocked Facebook earlier this year in the wake of the 'Everybody Draw Mohammed Day' controversy.

Just a few hours later, though, the kingdom's Communications and Information Technology Commission restored access to Facebook, without explaining why the ban had been implemented in the first place. An official from the commission initially told the AP that the country would be blocking Facebook because some of the site's content "crossed the line" of moral acceptability. The source didn't elaborate upon the specific content that offended Saudi regulators, though, and Facebook has yet to comment on the bizarre turn of events.

Perhaps the Saudi government was simply sending out a warning shot, or trying to reassert its authority over the kingdom's digital airspace. It's equally plausible, however, that this was an isolated incident, and that any offensive content was removed within a matter of hours. Either way, it's clear that the ban wasn't accidental. We'll just have to wait and see whether it materializes into a more serious standoff down the road.

Tags: ban, facebook, islam, morality, muslim, politics, SaudiArabia, SocialNetworking, top, web