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Bangladesh cuts off Facebook

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Bangladesh blocked Facebook over the weekend, leaving the social networking site marooned from another tranche of Muslim users even as Pakistan largely restored access to the site.

The latest action against the site is, again, down to the "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day" group. Depictions of the prophet are considered blasphemous by Muslims. The group had prompted a total ban on Facebook in Pakistan two weeks ago.

The furore in Pakistan had prompted a protest in Bangladesh's capital Dhaka on Friday, Associated Press reports. The site is estimated to have around one million users in the 150 million strong country.

Bangladesh's chief telecoms regulator Zia Ahmed said the government had asked local ISPs to block caricatures that offended the population's religious sympathies. Access would be restored if the caricatures were expunged, he said.

Pakistan restored Facebook access on Monday, AFP reports, with a judge saying only blasphemous links should be blocked, and the government should deploy technology similar to Saudi Arabia to cut off offensive content. The court will consider petitions to ban the site completely later this month.

In the meantime, ISPs apparently remain confused about the nature of the court order, while hundreds of links remain blocked. ®

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