Govt in Facebook blackout

It seems government has moved swiftly to cut off the Facebook social network website in its portal in the aftermath of the eight-week long strike that recently paralysed government operations.

Government workers suspect the move was deliberately taken to cut off communication via the social network, in the aftermath of the two-month walkout over salary increment.

Hundreds of Facebookers in Botswana, including politicians, trade unions and workers, have been using the social network to air their frustrations in an environment where government monopolises public opinion through the state-run television station, Botswana Television (Btv).

Some government workers that Showbiz spoke to in Gaborone said they found the Facebook blocked when they returned from the strike.  According to information gathered by Showbiz, it has been a month now since Facebookers in the public service that employs over 100, 000 people, have been experiencing problems accessing the social-network site.  IT sources within government have confirmed that Facebook has been systematically cut off in a deliberate move, but government spokesman, Jeff Ramsay, dismissed the charge saying, “people have a great imagination, it (the cutting off) predates the strike”, but would not say whether its unavailability in the government portal is temporary or permanent.  Computer users in the public service say Facebook is sometimes available after hours or during early hours of the morning.

Curiously, however, there has not been any official communication from government notifying the public service workers that there are some technical difficulties being expirienced with Facebook.

Showbiz has established that even departments like the government media, have had their Facebook access blocked without explanation.

Ramsay claims he doesn’t know how long the Facebook will remain inaccessible, adding that its unavailability is part of an ongoing overhaul of the government IT system.

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