Iran has blocked access to the social networking site Facebook, just ahead of the country’s presidential elections.
Facebook; to some it’s a fad, to others it’s a way of life, but to Tehran it is apparently a threat. Iran blocked access to the site yesterday, with users being greeted with a message in Farsi saying “Access to this site is not possible.” The ban was lifted for a few hours, but then re-instated with no reason given. This comes just ahead of the countries presidential elections on June 12th.
The general consensus seems to be that the site has been blocked to prevent the rivals of current President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad from using it to reach their supporters, especially ex-prime minister Mir Hossein Mousav (pictured), who is seen as a particular threat to Ahmedinejad’s presidency. Mousav’s Facebook page has more than 5000 supporters.
A Facebook spokesperson gave this statement: “We are disappointed to learn of reports that users in Iran may not have access to Facebook, especially at a time when voters are turning to the Internet as a source of information about election candidates and their positions … It is always a shame when a country’s cultural and political concerns lead to limits being placed on the opportunity for sharing and expression that the Internet provides.”