Kivanç Nezir

We all know about Facebook, on which most of us spend serious time, often when we are bored. We always check out what is going on there, like videos or photos and so on. We also know that Facebook is the king of the social networks with 600 million active users but there are countries that haven’t been conquered yet by it.

Facebook was launched in February 2004 and it has reached over 600 million users by 2010. That is a really large population for a social website and while it continues to grow, some censor it.

Firstly, several countries have banned access to Facebook, including China, Iran, Syria, Vietnam and more recently Egypt, because of the anti-government protestors who were communicating through Facebook. These countries have banned Facebook due to fears that opposition movements or protests against the government can gain ground. As an example, China blocked Facebook because of the Urumqi riots in July 2009, when Xinjiang independence activists were using it for part of their communications network.

The same thing happened in Iran, when the website was banned during the 2009 elections..

There are also organizations and schools blocking access. Organizations block it because the employers are spending their time on Facebook instead of working, and the same applies to students in schools. For example, in 2005 The University of New Mexico (UNM) blocked access to Facebook from UNM campus computers and networks. Some local governments imposed restrictions on the use of Facebook in the workplace such as in the UK and Finland and the US Marine Corps.

Those blockages and restrictions are not personal, but there are personal ones also. The user may block someone who is not welcome or our page can be limited for viewing  by our friends. Furthermore, Facebook affects our private life. Psychologists from Edinburgh Napier University indicated Facebook adds stress to users’ lives. Causes of stress included fear of missing important social information, fear of offending contacts, discomfort or guilt from rejecting user requests or deleting unwanted contacts, the pressure to be entertaining, and having to use appropriate etiquette for different types of friends, and so on.

Some of my friends live for Facebook; they really care about what’s going on there and put it before other more important things. If you don’t comment on your friend’s post, the Facebook chat pops up and asks, “Hey did you check out my new photos? Please comment on them!” That is actually bad for our lives. Ironically, we are simply becoming antisocial by using so-called social networks.

The question remains, will Facebook be successful at pulling down the barriers or will it just put up more? Must go, I haven’t checked Facebook in a while.