The Pakistan Courts have finally lifted the ban on Facebook. But for the 2.5 million users in Pakistan, Facebook is decidedly out of favour.
During the two week ban, Pakistanis decided that they will not tolerate campaigns like Everyone Draw Mohammed Day. And so they were quick use the opportunity to create Pakistan’s first social networking site - http://www.millatfacebook.com/. This was followed by two more such sites - http://www.emanfacebook.com/, and myfriendsbook.com
At first glance, all three look like clones of Facebook – the blue colour with profiles having access to similar features like a wall to talk to their friends, and discussion forums, chat and photos. But they all have one common message to the world on their home page- that they “can help you connect to 1.57 billion Muslims around the world and sweet people from other religions.” And that they are “hatred-free communities.”
It’s not even a week since their launch, but these sites are already popular among Muslims around the world. Ironically, these sites also have fan pages on their rival Facebook.
And here’s the latest post from the Millatfacebook fan page:
“Dear Brother/Sister, Congrats & Salam to all almost 90,000 Muslims already United as One Millat/Ummah at MFB. Now doing a server upgrade to ensure high speed for all our Muslim Community. We will be back in 2 HOURS. Thanks for your cooperation.”
Millatfacebook has about 630 followers and Emanfacebook has 100 people “liking” it on Facebook. I hit the refresh button after five minutes and in that short time the count has shot up to 750 and 109. Most of the comments are filled with praise, suggestions and queries from the new users.
The ban on YouTube was also lifted only last week, but many more such links continued to be blocked. YouTube and Facebook together account for 25 percent of internet traffic in Pakistan. But now after the launch of these new sites, it’s hardly a surprise that these bans will have little effect on the country’s web users.