Syria tightens Internet ban after Tunis unrest-users

Wed Jan 26, 2011 6:04pm GMT

* Controls tightened after Tunisia president fell

* Facebook chat popular among young Syrians

* Syrian president on Facebook

By Khaled Yacoub Oweis

DAMASCUS, Feb 26 (Reuters) - Syrian authorities have banned programmes that allow access to Facebook Chat from cellphones, tightening already severe restrictions on the Internet in the wake of the unrest in Tunisia, users said on Wednesday.

Nimbuzz and eBuddy, two programmes that allow access to Facebook Chat and other messaging programmes through a single interface, no longer work in Syria, thety said.

The Baath Party has ruled Syria since 1963, when it outlawed all opposition and imposed emergency law, which is still in force.

The main Facebook page is also banned, but servers known as proxies allow Syrians to bypass the controls, with the chat function through cellphones gaining popularity, especially among the young, according to users.   Continued...

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