Pakistanis locked out of millions of websites as Login with Facebook is not working due to social media blockage

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In Pakistan after PMLN led government failed to disperse the protestors at Faizabad, basically to prevent the people from knowing the current situation, government took steps which affected lives of millions of Pakistanis. One such step was blocking the social media. Blockade of social media in itself is act which tried to prey on the people’s right of information. But there even more damaging consequences of it, which people of Pakistan had to bear.

Facebook login not working due to social media blockage
“Login with Facebook” not working due to social media blockage

One such example is “Login with Facebook”. Almost every internet user knows it very well what “Login with Facebook” is. Also, almost every website which requires users to login to their system provide the feature to people to login to the via Facebook. So People instead of making the account on every website, use the Facebook to login to all those site.

Now what happened is, when the Facebook was blocked after the Faizabad operation failure, millions of people were locked out of their accounts on many websites on which they used to “login via Facebook”. And these websites may be very important ones, like the freelancing sites, which people use to earn their living online. Or the eCommerce sites on which they had ordered something and payed for it and now not able to login to website to track their order. These are just two basic use cases these websites can range from education to travel and much much more.

So these childish steps of blocking the social media have left people locked out of many useful sites which may effect their life very badly. Someone earn bread for their children via a freelancing site which he logs in via Facebook and now after being locked out if it, isn’t it situation of worry for him.

Now what people can do is wait, hope and pray that government normalizes the things very soon. Also, I hope that next time before blocking the social media websites and services, authorities consider what impact it will have on lives of people.

In my own opinion blocking such services in today’s world are like oppressing your own people and their rights of information and free speech. No democracy allows its democratic leaders to give and implement such blunt decision which affect people so badly. These blockages are seen in countries like Syria and other countries when some dictators were ruling the people and didn’t wanted the world to know their crimes against humanity.

In my opinion it was nothing of this scale for which government needed to block TV channels and specially social media. Whatever happened is just not allowed in a democracy and government should think million times before taking such actions.

UPDATE: Following the fierce public reaction, the social media, blocked TV channels and all affected platforms were restored in just hours. This shows one thing, unlike china and few other countries, Pakistani people does not take the internet censorship lightly and they will not allow any government to take away their freedoms. However, censorship to block any inappropriate content is more than welcome.

How to Watch Pakistani News Channels Online as they are Vanished from TV Cable networks after start of Faizabad Operation

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After start of Faizabad operation today, all the news channels were instructed via PEMRA (Pakistan Electronic Media Regularity Authority), to NOT cover the operation live. However, later on suddenly the news channels were vanished from all tv Cable network. Currently all news channels are not being show on cable networks in Pakistan. Reportedly all of this is being done by via PEMRA by ordering Cable networks to not show the News Channels.

Pakistani TV Channels Live

However, an alternate is watch these channels online. But last time I checked the live URLs of new channels like geo tv were also being blocked. As I was not able to access live.geo.tv.

In such situation there is one service on which you can rely on and its called TapMad TV (tapmad.com). TapMad.com have number of news channels available in list which can be watched live, moreover it have many entainment channels as well. For full list of channels available on TapMad Click Here, after reaching that page, you can also show channels by category like only new or only entertainment or sports channels etc.

TapMad not only provide live channels but also offer content like movies and pre-Aired tv shows etc. Live Channels are FREE but the movies and prerecorded dramas need premium membership which you can get by paying via your mobile balance.

Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Instagram and Whatsapp Web Blocked in Pakistan Right Now

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Today in early morning government of Pakistan finally decided to use force against faizabad protestors in Islamabad. So they started an operation by thinking that it will be over in couple of hours and everything will be normal. But looks like the government’s plan of dispersing the protestors backfired. First, the forces fought at faizabad for six hours and than later on again to disperse them. But not only they were not successful but in reaction to the “forced action” attempt, many people in different cities of Pakistan took it to the streets and country wide protests started against the current government. In every city now there are many people protesting on streets and on many places conflicts were happened with police where lives and health of both parties (protestors and officials) were in risk. Some bad incidents reported.

facebook twitter instagram youtube banned in pakistan

Now after the situation was gone out of hands of government, for majority of internet users in Pakistan, social media is totally blocked. This may have only one reason, that videos and images of those conflict does not spread. The affected sites include Facebook, twitter, Instagram and even web version of whatsapp is blocked.

The blocked web version tells me one thing, who ever ordered these blockages, they ordered to block whatsapp too, but as after being block in middle east, whatsapp guys have implemented smart algorithms which transmit data through a number of domains and connected nodes, so this system is not very easy to block for any government or some entity.

This is again the irony here, instead of trying to contain the situation there people’s right to remain informed is being taken away from here. Not only all the major ISPs are blocking the social media websites and services but also all the news channels have been gone missing from the cable networks.

Youtube is not blockable, it never was

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It is well over one year now that Youtube.com is officially blocked in Pakistan. But are people of Pakistan really unable to access the website? The answer is no, the site is very much accessible. Its not only accessible through few alternate methods in Pakistan, its just being accessed by every eight out of ten people using different methods to get around the ban.

youtube logo

People are using the proxy websites or in some cases some free VPN softwares are being used to bypass the blockade of youtube. Plus its an established fact that government have not been able to block any secure links yet, yes I am talking about the links over SSL or put it like this, the links which use https protocoal in browser bar instead of http. With few simple changes in configuration of internet connection people are able to change dns servers to some free foreign servise for this purpose, after that if you put the secure link in the browser, youtube is accessable. Then again with few changes in youtube account settings people are able to run few videos as well on SSL or in other words secure link which is unblockable. Google, the owner of youtube website, have a goal to convert every link there exists to SSL so soon everything including the video playback would be over secure link and government will have no way to block those videos and anyone would be able to access those videos without any proxy.

My point is simple, Pakistani government should not try to block the website on their own end, they must actively communicate with google to have a Pakistani domain of website and then they will be able to get few certain objectionable videos blocked effectively and rest of website would be available to people. When people use proxies or other methods to get around the ban, what happens is that along with all the good content they are willing to watch the objectionable content also keeps poping over. Also sooner or later government will have to resort to contacting Google for video blockade, becasue as soon as google converts its video playback as well on Secure Link (SSL) it will be impossible for our government to block anyone of vidoes on youtube. Isn’t it good the government contacts google soon and gets the good contact available to people and gets the objectionable/blashphamous content blocked the proper way.

My political association is not with Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) but as soon as they took charge I was hoping that things would get better and along with other issues Pakistan is facing, the cyber space issues will also be resolved but government have not been able to handle stuff well till now. Its never too late actually, Pakistan is already accessing the site, government should officially end this ban and should resort to more reliable methods to block the blashphamous material on website.

Unfortunate fact is that every once in a while either Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) or Federal Minister for IT and Telco Anusha Rehman give a statement claiming that they have either been able to block the objectionable links on website or they are in talks with Google and soon website will be accessable soon. But soon people realise that this was just a publicity stunt to remain in the news. But its time for them to do the right thing instead of making these statements, people of Pakistan no more can be fooled and they are watching you closely to compare what you say and what you exactly do.

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