In the wake of execution of war criminals in Bangladesh, the government blocked social media platform Facebook, along with other popular messaging and voice calling applications, notably WhatsApp and Viber. The ban was materialized on 18th November on the grounds of national security. The social media platforms still remain blocked and it’s creating havoc among online businesses and institutions that rely on social media.
According to mobile phone and IIG operators, the traffic from Bangladesh to the internet has seen a hit of about 30% after blocking Facebook and the other applications. They have expressed concern that the ban would eventually have an adverse effect on their businesses if it perpetuates.
There has been no statement issued from the government about when the ban would be lifted.
Sumon Ahmed Sabir, IIG Operator Fibre at Home’s Strategy Officer told Bdnews24.com that about 3Gbps of their data had been used daily on an average to browse Facebook and other apps before the ban. “But the usage has slumped by 30% since last week” he said, noting that other apps do not take up the same amount of data.
However, there are many users in the country who are accessing Facebook and the other apps with the help of proxy sites. IIG operators have expressed that they lack the technology to cause a complete block on social media. BTRC Chairman Shajahan Mahmood claimed that they have been successful in curbing usage by 90%.
According to the latest data from BTRC, 51.9 million subscribers out of 54 million access the internet through their mobile devices. Sources from a leading mobile operator informed that the sale of internet package has also declined, while some expressed fear that a long time ban could eventually discourage mobile internet use
According to the latest data from BTRC, 51.9 million subscribers out of 54 million access the internet through their mobile devices. Sources from a leading mobile operator informed that the sale of internet package has also declined, while some expressed fear that a long time ban could eventually discourage mobile internet use.
Earlier on Saturday, State Minister for Posts and Telecommunications Tarana Halim stated “Those who are using Facebook and other applications are not using any safe means to do so. Hence, we are able to monitor them” and she threatened surveillance on those using Facebook through proxy sites.
On the other hand, Home Minister Asaduzzaaman Khan Kamal praised those who are using Facebook circumventing the ban. “Our young people are very innovative. They are the country’s future. They are trying out one means or the other.” However, he also advised the youth to not go beyond the rules.
IT expert Mustafa Jabbar expressed frustration over the ban and said “The ban is having a negative impact and harming the business” and also went on to say that the ban is enraging the youth against the government.
As of writing this report, Facebook and the other applications still remain blocked and no information has been revealed of a possible date of lifting the ban.