Qtel blocks popular social networking site

Qatar firm stops access to www.tagged.com because of inappropriate content.

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By  Joanna Hartley Published  February 9, 2009

A social networking site that ranked among Qatar’s top 10 most frequented websites has been blocked by Qtel following complaints from the public, it was reported on Monday.

Last weekend internet users in Qatar said they were unable to access www.tagged.com, that has 70 million registered users worldwide.

Qtel said the site was blocked under the telecommunications company’s Community Internet Safety Policy, according to Qatar daily The Peninsuala.

Adel Al Mutawa, executive director, group communications for Qtel said the decision to block the site was taken because the company was unable to selectively apply filters to filter out inappropriate content.

Al Mutawa also revealed the decision to block the site came after “a number of complaints from the public”.
“The decision to block a site is never taken lightly, and we conduct thorough investigations upon receiving requests from the public,” he said.

“In this instance, because it was proving impossible to separate the legitimate from the potentially harmful, and because we saw the potential for damage – particularly to young people – we made the decision to block the site,” Al Mutawa added.

However, Qtel’s internet safety technology had been aligned with the filter technology of the world’s most popular video sharing site, so Qatar-based customers could access everything, apart from material that is tagged as inappropriate content.

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