By Zurairi Abd Rahman
October 21, 2010
KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 21 — Facebook has been accused of censorship by the owners of a Facebook page dedicated against the proposed 100-storey skyscraper by Perbadanan Nasional Berhad (PNB).
“While new media offers room for social movements, the authoritarian governance by the Internet giants like Facebook has sunk to a new form of censorship,” bursts one of the creators in a report earlier by Malaysiakini, setting off incendiary reactions from the Malaysian Twitter community.
Despite allegations of “cyber-tyranny”, the block may have less to do with censorship but more to do with its meteoric rise.
Started the day after the Budget 2011 speech by Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, the fan page now sports 36,843 fans of likeminded Malaysians at the time of writing, and swelling still.
Facebook users can still “like” the fan page, and access to it has not been obstructed in any way.
The owners claim to be victimised, but a quick look at the Terms & Conditions page for Facebook Fan Page reveals that “Pages are special profiles that may only be used to promote a business or other commercial, political, or charitable organisation or endeavour”.
Put simply, a fan page may only represent a specific brand or organisation, none of which is represented by the “1M Malaysians Reject 100-storey Mega Tower” page.
A look at the help page on “Warnings” also suggests that the owners might be blocked from posting any contents since they might have sent messages “at a rate that is likely to be abusive”, or spamming.
Lately, Facebook also has gone on an exercise to convert generic and unofficial fan pages that rakes up thousands of fans to community pages. Community pages concentrate on topics which are discussed by a lot of people, and won’t be maintained by a single author.
If this is why the fan page was blocked, the solution to the block would be as simple as verifying themselves as legitimate owner of the page to Facebook, thus making it “official”.
In any case, Facebook states that a block will be temporary, and lasts between a few hours to a few days. Any attempts to use the blocked feature will only result in a longer block.
The 100-storey tower protesters would do best to keep their calm, and be patient.