With the new Facebook terms of service ready to be passed, many are practically oblivious to the fact that the Facebook Governance vote ever took place but some of them may become aware once Facebook is no longer available to them. One statement in the latest Facebook terms has a few Iranians concerned, that they may no longer be able to use the site, even though Iran is no longer blocking Facebook.
Section 4.3 of the revised terms of service states “You will not use Facebook if you are located in a country embargoed by the U.S., or are on the U.S. Treasury Department’s list of Specially Designated Nationals.” Currently on the embargoed list is Iran, North Korea, Cuba, among others.
Previously, Iran had banned Facebook back in 2007 and then again in November of 2008 when the country blocked Facebook, YouTube and millions of other sites. Now it appears that Iranians once again have access to Facebook but that may not be the case for much longer. If Facebook plans on enforcing their latest terms of service, Iranians could soon be without the much coveted Facebook.
It’s unknown how many Iranians currently use Facebook but it there is now a small backlash beginning to take place on the Iran public profile (which currently has 14,850 fans). What’s ironic is that the backlash didn’t begin until today, the same day that voting ended. If there was a large Iranian user base, they are now too late for voting down the new changes. Then again they would have needed to rally 60 million users to vote against the changes.
We don’t know if Facebook plans on actively blocking the site, but the latest terms suggest they will. I have reached out to Facebook for comment and am currently waiting on a response. Do you think Facebook should actively block countries?
Facebook has reached out to us with the following statement: “To be incompliance with US law, we need to prohibit commercial activities from embargoed countries. We have allowed, and plan to continue to allow, users to set up accounts from those countries and communicate, as long as they are not engaging in commercial activities on the site.” Facebook also said the short answer is “no” they are not banning Iran.