Syria blocks Facebook in Internet crackdown (WashPost)

Syrian users of Facebook said on Friday the authorities had blocked access to the social network Web site as part of a crackdown on political activism on the Internet. “Facebook helped further civil society in Syria and form civic groups outside government control. This is why it has been banned,” womens rights advocate Dania al-Sharif told Reuters. “They cut off communications between us and the outside world. We are used to this behavior from our government,” said Mais al-Sharbaji, who set up a Facebook group for amateur Syrian photographers. There was no comment form the government, which has intensified a campaign against bloggers, virtual opinion forums and independent media sites in recent months. Syria has been under emergency rule since the Baath Party took power in a 1963 coup. No public criticism of the party and the powerful security apparatus is allowed. Scores of dissidents have been jailed over the past year. …

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