Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Iran Lifts Block on Facebook Access

Via Washington Post -

Iran restored access to Facebook Tuesday, after a block on the social networking Web site last week generated accusations that the government was trying to muzzle one of the main presidential campaign tools of the reformist opposition.

Facebook was cut off Saturday, depriving challengers to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of a critical means of reaching out for the youth vote in the June 12 election.

The main pro-reform candidate, Mir Hossein Mousavi, is seeking a strong turnout from young voters and has used Facebook to try to mobilize support.

Authorities have not directly commented on the Facebook outage, and the reason for its return Tuesday was not immediately clear.

It also was not known whether the renewed Facebook access is permanent. Iranian authorities have restored then re-imposed blocks on Web sites in the past.

Iranian authorities often block specific Web sites and blogs considered critical of the Islamic regime. Critics said the shutdown of Facebook forced Iranians to rely on the government for information, depriving the election debate of important independent voices.

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