A new Facebook for Muslims?

Published: May 23, 2010

Pakfacebook launched following the ban on Facebook by the Lahore High Court.

KARACHI: The ongoing ban of Facebook in Pakistan has prompted some entrepreneurs to jump at the opportunity with the creation of an alternative social networking site, Pakfacebook.com.

Launched on May 19, the ‘kosher’ alternative to Facebook has become the 488th most active site in Pakistan according to search analytics website Alexa.

Controversy has surrounded the newly launched website however, as SMS messages being forwarded in Pakistan have warned users that the site is hosted in Canada and has been set up by a US citizen to, “take advantage of you, and earn money that they are losing from the original site”.

The site has also been plagued by downtime for most of Sunday, possibly due to the sudden load of traffic to its servers.

Alternatives are being sought by Pakistanis online:

“This situation is a golden opportunity for any Pakistani web developers to design a web like Facebook and if their site serves like Facebook, it will become a huge success for that developer, Muslims and Pakistan” said Hasham in an online comment to The Express Tribune.

“Marketing people are advised ‘go where the crowds are’. Guys Paki crowd is not on FB anymore. So go where they are going now. FB is not the only place for crowds, a new one can be created. I like the idea of Hasham, developers should come up quickly with something like a desi Facebook alternate. Our friends abroad can join in and we can have a cleaner social networking platform of our own. Hope somebody comes forward with it,” said Anis in a continuation of the online discussion.

So what are the options?

Some alternatives to Facebook do currently exist on the internet. Among the most popular of these is Muslim social networking site, Salam which offers many of Facebook’s features such as photo sharing, events, groups and videos. The site also adheres to the concept of modesty as indicated in its Community Guidance section.

Weblog TechMambo also provides a list of the Top 10 Facebook clones available online.

The Lahore High Court Bar Association (LHCBA) on Tuesday inaugurated the ‘Millat Facebook’ website as an alternative to the banned social networking site. Read the full report here.

Privacy first:

Facebook has also seen competition crop up due to the ongoing controversy surrounding its privacy settings. The New York Times ran a recent report on four students who have set up Diaspora*, a social networking alternate to Facebook with personalised privacy settings for users.

As they describe it, the Diaspora software will let users set up their own personal servers, called seeds, create their own hubs and fully control the information they share. Mr Sofaer says that centralized networks like Facebook are not necessary. “In our real lives, we talk to each other,” he said. “We don’t need to hand our messages to a hub. What Facebook gives you as a user isn’t all that hard to do. All the little games, the little walls, the little chat, aren’t really rare things. The technology already exists.”

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Reader Comments (59)

  • May 23, 2010 - 7:20PM

    Though I’ve not yet visited the site, I hope the webmasters behind it would not think about restricting it to only Pakistanis as its name implies “pakfacebook”.

    I am a bit dismayed at the title of the site. It should not have contained facebook. Does it show that we are really brain-drained? Even a contests should have been held to suggest a name and there could have been better than pakfacebook.

    Anyway, let us see how people respond and how webmasters manage to make it an international cyber portal not only for the Muslims, but for those who have condemned facebook’s prejudiced policies.Recommend

  • Fayyaz Alam
    May 23, 2010 - 7:44PM

    Make it for everyone. Just add that hate speech against any religion is not acceptable.

    Having a Muslim or Pakitani site is too restrictive. Muslims need to show that they embrace all peace loving human beings!Recommend

  • May 23, 2010 - 7:46PM

    Pakfacebook is going to go the way of Mecca Cola and Qibla Cola. While I respect the enterprising nature of those behind this initiative, at the end of the day people crave good products. In the long run unless they can provide an equal if not better quality of service, this is going to be another one hit, short lived wonder. Recommend

  • May 23, 2010 - 8:22PM

    There is another Pakistani Social Networking site, i am using it since 2009 and it has been made by Netwatan Co Ltd (an Islamabad based company), here is the link of the site http://www.netwatan.com, You will surely enjoy being there.. It was actually the first ever Pakistani social networking site.. So go there and sign up now. Recommend

  • Samandar Khan
    May 23, 2010 - 9:41PM

    Why don’t we disconnect ourself from the rest of the world altogether. That way we will never know what blasphemous deeds taking place around the world. Will we then be happy? I mean that is what Islam teaches us right? To become ignorant.

    Not to mention, these websites will never be able to replace facebook.

    If I could I would share a video called About Muhammad (PBUH) for the great tolerant Muslims of today. But Youtube is blocked.Watch it if you can. You may learn something.

    Peace to all,

    Samandar KhanRecommend

  • ARF
    May 23, 2010 - 11:31PM

    well written Samandar Khan. I surely don’t agree with the caricature web page but what we have done really makes me wonder where on Earth we are heading towards. Blocking FB is only giving the instigators an upper hand to irritate us at the drop of a hat. They know exactly which knobs to turn and to what limit and then just sit back, watch and enjoy – which is exactly what has happened.Recommend

  • dk
    May 23, 2010 - 11:33PM

    dont have trust on any facebook! or pakfacebook.. the name facebook stroke in my mind and i cant accept it… pakfacebook is also hosted in U.S , one day again they will issue these types of bad things!Recommend

  • May 24, 2010 - 12:05AM

    wanna bees.. what the hell does that means.. even using the name FACEBOOK… totally crapRecommend

  • Sadia Ali
    May 24, 2010 - 1:28AM

    Stupid idea. Just like banning facebook was stupid in the first place. How are my foreign and non Muslim friends to join? They won’t join when everyone else is on facebook. Muslim facebook? We have to bring religion into everything? sad. Lift the ban on facebookRecommend

  • ME
    May 24, 2010 - 7:44AM

    loll… .its nice to have an alternative..but i think a better name could bring it up awesumly..!Recommend

  • ME
    May 24, 2010 - 7:47AM

    n one more thing..its not about hiding or being coward abt blockin facebook and youtube..its about the respect towardz our religion ISLAM and our Prophet Mohammad (P.B.U.H)…the respect which a non-muslim can see it as a broader way and accept that there is still spirit in every true muslim who can stand up for their religion..!….they fear from what they dunnow …and wen they get to knw dey get more drowned in dat fear..!..so its not stupid at all..!Recommend

  • Muhammad Arif
    May 24, 2010 - 8:27AM

    This is a brilliant idea, the name needs to be changed though. We have to be self sustainable. Facebook was banned due to its hatred towards Islam. And I think it was a pretty good decision as only 2 days ban all over da world cost them a loss of 1.2 billion dollars. For how long we will be relying on others? why do we need spoon feeding all the time? We have talent and resources so we gotta start utilising them before its too late.

    @ Sadia
    Ma`am religion is the main base of ones life so how can you just filter it outta everything. Recommend

  • Anonymous
    May 24, 2010 - 2:41PM

    how can we delet our photos and video..:(from fbRecommend

  • Amna
    May 24, 2010 - 3:24PM

    I think its the high time for the Muslim community to develop at least a copy of what others have provided us as a mode of social networking…and this just needs an initiative!!!
    @Sadia: Madam, I think there were number of alternative ways even before facebook, which were chaining us to our loved ones across the world. And do you really think you can do without religion?Recommend

  • Usman Butt
    May 24, 2010 - 3:30PM

    This is a brilliant idea, the name needs to be changed though. We have to be self sustainable. Facebook was banned due to its hatred towards Islam. And I think it was a pretty good decision as only 2 days ban all over da world cost them a loss of 1.2 billion dollars. For how long we will be relying on others? why do we need spoon feeding all the time? We have talent and resources so we gotta start utilising them before its too late.Recommend

  • Omar
    May 24, 2010 - 6:52PM

    I would choose http://sal.am which offers more features than facebook, and doesn’t sound silly as pakface.Recommend

  • May 24, 2010 - 7:53PM

    Assalamualykum,

    On behalf of http://sal.am, it is my pleasure to thank Jahanzaib Haque, Shaheryar Popalzai and tribune.com.pk for compiling Muslim alternatives to Facebook.

    It’s vital for Muslim websites to receive encouraging words, and feedbacks from press such as Tribune. In return for your feature on Salam – Muslim social network, we have linked back to this article.Recommend

  • May 24, 2010 - 10:43PM

    http://www.muslims-unite.com is another alternative that has been recently been launched. The idea behind it is really simple, it basically a centeral hub for users to share their ideas, opinions and learn more about the muslim culture. The social network has a unique design and has all the features that facebook has plus more. Check it out.Recommend

  • Zaara Begum
    May 25, 2010 - 1:07AM

    Just joined http:/www.sal.am, loving the friendly diverse communityRecommend

  • May 25, 2010 - 2:45AM

    Salaam. All too often networking is done in the ‘virtual’ world via sites, which are fine especially if geography is an issue. Enhancing your network in the ‘real’ world is one way to unite the Ummah, showcase everything that is done via the likes of these sites, eg. arts, businesses, charities – an example in the UK is http://www.emeraldnetwork.co.ukRecommend

  • Aamir Sattar Malik
    May 25, 2010 - 9:41AM

    Good measure at right time.Please prapogate it to print & electronic Media.ALso try to get support from govt. side for promotions (just like in foreign missions & delegation meetings.PAk face book logos being hanged in the meetings.)Recommend

  • Truthseeker
    May 25, 2010 - 11:15AM

    I think we should first make our house in order then to blame anyone. Arn’t there so many blasphemous haditees in Sahih and Bukhari. Can you block these books? Shun this hypocraciy.Recommend

  • Shahzad Ahmad
    May 25, 2010 - 3:04PM

    Loosers… Thieves… Couldn’t even come-up with an original design… What kinds of muslims they are… Will muslim steal?Recommend

  • Sadia Ali
    May 25, 2010 - 3:58PM

    @Muhammad Arif. i am not asking you to filter religion out of everything, just social networking. the entire purpose of social networking is to meet people of all kinds, creed, religion, ethinicity etc. anyways religion is a personal matter and should be left that way. Maybe U only have Muslim acquaintances; i have all kinds of friends. U cant expect people to live on your terms! after all they have their own laws etc. The ban has only give the creators of the said page more publicity. And no other nation Muslim or otherwise has banned youtube and facebook.Recommend

  • Humna Khan
    May 25, 2010 - 4:04PM

    @Amna Religion is personal. U dont have the right to tell me how to live my life. its between God and I. We were in touch with our loved ones all over the world before this but nothing was as convininet as facebook. anyways banning the entire facebook and youtube is absurd. the said page could have been blocked. after all one can find stuff like this even on google. why not ban the internet? it has porn and such stuff which is against the teachings of Islam! Facebook is just a platform. by banning this page even people who didnt know abt it have come to know abt it. Knee jerk action.Recommend

  • osama athar
    May 25, 2010 - 4:40PM

    nooo.. this is not an alternative for facebook… this domain belongs to an american based jew, surely they are misleading people!Recommend

  • Al Bundy
    May 25, 2010 - 4:46PM

    I just can’t believe this… If someone publishes something on Facebook that you don’t like, then ban Facebook. It’s like banning computers because you can write pretty blasphemic stuff in Microsoft Word. Or banning pens and papers because someone wrote something nasty… Come on people, get out of the stone age. If people don’t like your religion, try to convince them to like it. Don’t close your eyes to critisism to Islam and pretend that if you can’t see it then it’s ok. And for god’s sake, don’t try to scare people into liking Islam…Recommend

  • May 25, 2010 - 5:59PM

    I came across http://www.worldchains.com/ and found it Replica of Facebook. We won’t die if we do not have Facebook. The purpose is of social networking & staying in touch with Friends & Family, which other sites such as http://www.worldchains.com/ fullfills.

    Let them know (Facebook) they have hurt our sentiments & let them now pay for it !Recommend

  • Jalaludin Mohammed
    May 25, 2010 - 7:14PM

    @Truthseeker
    The Book Saheeh Bukhari does not have any fabricated hadiths. It only contains those hadiths whose chain of narrators have excellent cradentials.

    What house are you trying to bring in to order when you dont even seem to know a lot about Islam. Do some research before writing about Islamic books. Recommend

  • Bangash
    May 25, 2010 - 8:31PM

    Naseeb.com has been online for many years and is geared towards Muslims. However none of these are Facebook. Pakistanis foolishly are depriving themselves of popular websites due to a few mischief-makers, who are not even the founders of controllers of the websites.Recommend

  • May 25, 2010 - 10:05PM

    hello h r u am agreed for face book ban this is ban every time no use muslims ok budyRecommend

  • May 25, 2010 - 11:35PM

    Sadia: Is it just you who can’t access FB then the solution is quite simple :), Just google it you will get to it..I hope they don’t ban google for searching that :D

    Humna: Many muslims outside Pakistan don’t even know about any such thing/page, It is only us thanks to the ‘excellent’ marketing services we provide. Even the owner of that page praised Pakistan for making that page popular..(Have a snapshot saved, for those who don’t believe)

    PakFacebook seems like a joke to me..the name itself confines itself to the people of Pakistan Only..IF you want to make a difference make something for the world, make it popular and get it accepted worldwide and beat Facebook !Recommend

  • Hassan Malik
    May 26, 2010 - 6:15AM

    Dude, that’s a joke. In simple words, it’s a cheap knock-off of the real thing. In technical terms, it’s a copyright infringement on facebook’s design and name. Shame on the people who created it.Recommend

  • Tippu
    May 26, 2010 - 7:44AM

    @ all supporters of facebook

    The reason that facebook as a site has been banned is due to the fact that their own terms of agreement state that their pages shall NOT be used to racial and religious vilification.
    Displyaing rank hypocracy however, facebook has refused to follow their own rules and allowed the celebration of “everybody insult a muslim day” (which is the appropriate name for the page). They have refused to remove the offending page whose clear charter is not “freedom of speech” but rather “lets offend muslims as much as we can”.
    If facebook had only followed their own rules, it would not have come to this. But the brain dead amongst us continue to call for lifting the facebook ban without knowing what the real issue is.Recommend

  • Truthseeker
    May 26, 2010 - 10:13AM

    @Jalaluddin,

    This is attitude you people have towards world because whenever you do not have any valid argument you issued Fatwas to kill humans. Your next target will may be Fauzia Wahab.Recommend

  • May 26, 2010 - 4:26PM

    Oooooopsss ! Guess what MySQL Error – :P lol …. Seriously .. can you just debug your site PakFacebook … lmfao !Recommend

  • Naveed Babar
    May 26, 2010 - 5:09PM

    PakFacebook seems like a joke to me..the name itself confines itself to the people of Pakistan Only..IF you want to make a difference make something for the world, make it popular and get it accepted worldwide and beat Facebook !Recommend

  • Calculating_Misfit
    May 27, 2010 - 2:04AM

    “PakFacebook seems like a joke to me..the name itself confines itself to the people of Pakistan Only..IF you want to make a difference make something for the world, make it popular and get it accepted worldwide and beat Facebook !”

    Accepted by the world and beat Facebook??? What a joke. PakFacebook’s homepage took about a minute to load on a high speed connection (to do anything on else on that page requires a further 5 minutes), the user interface is horrible to use, the web design is pathetic (not to mention that PakFacebook’s theme is little more than a cheap ripoff of facebook). I am getting SQL database errors constantly. Facebook is a success because it delivers a quality service to its customers. Who in their right mind, anywhere in the world, would use this service??? Instead people here are arguing about whether the word facebook should be in PakFacebook, what a laugh….Recommend

  • Calculating_Misfit
    May 27, 2010 - 2:20AM

    @Tippu

    “The reason that facebook as a site has been banned is due to the fact that their own terms of agreement state that their pages shall NOT be used to racial and religious vilification.”

    Wrong. Under FB’s rules you cannot attack people because of their racial or religious background. However, you are allowed to criticize the religion itself. Recommend

  • Tippu
    May 27, 2010 - 7:04AM

    @Calculating Misfit

    Here is a direct quote from the facebook spokesman when interviewed by FoxNews regarding the “muhammad page”:

    “When a group created to express an opinion devolves into threats or hate speech, we will remove the threatening or hateful comments and may even remove the group itself.”

    As far as i know, facebook has now removed the page globally (not just for pakistan). And if you had visited the page before it was removed, you would have agreed that it contained nothing but hate against mulsims and was a gathering point of rascist bigots. There are other copycat pages that have now popped up but none with hate speech or the membership of the original offending page.

    Had facebook removed the page initially and followed their own rules instead of procasternating, the whole issue could have been resolved in a timely manner without the associated ruckus. Instead, for reasons only known to themselves, they let the page stay on for about a week before taking it off. The fact that facebook usage and traffic has nosedived (as per their own admission) may well have played a role.
    At best, it was bad management by facebook. At worst, facebook was party to the whole affair and backed off once they saw the impact it was having on their business. Eitherway, they have themselves to blame.Recommend

  • Awais
    May 27, 2010 - 9:30AM

    Sadly, many of us have been TRAPPED. Pointing fingers at Pakistan for banning facebook….do you realize this is not even what a response should have been against what they have done regarding Prophet Muhammad PBUH. All ‘ WE ‘ are thinking is about how we are going to contact rest of the friends and this move is not what democracy teaches. What about Huzoor Pak PBUH? is that all the love you have for him? sacrificing it all over a jew brainchild..FACEBOOK. Perhaps read up more about JEWS and i dont mind it saying it out loud…read it up in QURAN … the book of guidance your creator has sent for you and you will find out.

    Hope we all wake up and smell the coffee sooon.Recommend

  • Al Bundy
    May 27, 2010 - 12:24PM

    The banning of Facebook and youtube has ABSOLUTLEY NOTHING to do with religion. It is a desperate attempt from the rulers of Pakistan to try to stop all the critisism against them on these two sites. They know that by using religion as an excuse, they can do anything and the people just accepts that…Recommend

  • hamza
    May 27, 2010 - 4:25PM

    I am against face book site should be ban for for ever.Recommend

  • M. Ismail Khan
    May 27, 2010 - 5:19PM

    If its local tech…? must be Halal Facebook..!Recommend

  • Syeda Humna
    May 27, 2010 - 6:27PM

    **truth seeker** u really need to find some truth in ur life. this thread it not the site for posting sectarianism within our religion, keep all the hatred to yourself and stick to the main topic.

    **at the Topic** I personally consider the idea of law suit against facebook a more appropriate idea. one can quote their poilicies in order to get a justifiable hearing. the money generated can be used for the uplift of islamic research or our country.Recommend

  • Calculating_Misfit
    May 27, 2010 - 10:30PM

    @Tippu

    “Here is a direct quote from the facebook spokesman when interviewed by FoxNews regarding the “muhammad page”:
    “When a group created to express an opinion devolves into threats or hate speech, we will remove the threatening or hateful comments and may even remove the group itself.”

    Please do not quote only parts of the article which give a false view of facebook’s policies:

    The paragraph of the article reads:

    ["Threats of violence and direct statements of hate against particular communities violate our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities and are removed when reported to us," reads a company statement to FoxNews.com. "Facebook is highly self-regulating, and users can and do report content that they find questionable or offensive. Groups that express an opinion on a state, institution, or set of beliefs -- even if that opinion is outrageous or offensive to some -- do not by themselves violate our policies. When a group created to express an opinion devolves into threats or hate speech, we will remove the threatening or hateful comments and may even remove the group itself."]

    In other words facebook allows outrageous and offensive expressions critical of a people’s religion. It is only if the page attacks people based upon race, religion, etc. will facebook take it down.

    “As far as i know, facebook has now removed the page globally (not just for pakistan).”

    Facebook has stated it was not involved with removing the page.Recommend

  • May 28, 2010 - 1:07AM

    How many prisoners are locked up in Muslim prisons for their opinions, ideas, and cultural identity? Is it in the spirit of Islam that Muslims are fleeing their homeland for ‘heretical’ countries in order to attain security and live in dignity?… Is it in the spirit of Islam to be silent in the face of the tyranny of rulers? Is it in the spirit of Islam that one family should rule over an entire people? Is it in the spirit of Islam that some Muslim countries abound in magnificent palaces while 60% of their population is illiterate? Is it in the spirit of Islam to turn a blind eye to a billionaire’s several profligate satellite channels, whose programs make a mockery of religion and morality, only because [this billionaire] has [also] launched a religious channel?…

    The truth is that the biggest enemy of Islam is the Muslims themselves, because they have relinquished all decency in dealing with others, as well as the courage to oppose oppression…Recommend

  • May 28, 2010 - 1:13AM

    yar pakfacebook jaldi on karoRecommend

  • Danish
    May 28, 2010 - 1:46AM

    @ Kent Reichborn-Kjennerud: i agree wid u totally. Recommend

  • Tippu
    May 28, 2010 - 7:09AM

    @Calculating_misfit

    “Threats of violence and direct statements of hate against particular communities violate our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities and are removed when reported to us,” reads a company statement to FoxNews.com

    The statement is very clear that hate speech is not tolerated. The said page contained nothing but hate speech against mulsims. The posts consisted of vilification, charactarization and hatred of muslims as a group. Which is why facebook should have removed it at the outset instead of waiting for a week and wringing their hands and coming up with lame excuses.

    Im no fan of the pak government. But for once, they stood up for whats right and the for the will of the people. (Albeit they were forced into it by the courts, and didnt want to impose the ban themselves because they have no self respect). And for standing up for whats right, the nation should be proud and congradulated.

    In the meantime, may i present this:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F4VbSeK516I&feature=related

    Hope you enjoy it. Recommend

  • ejaz anwar
    May 28, 2010 - 8:39AM

    this is a good step for muslims all over the world…..
    http://www.millatfacebook.com
    all the muslims should ignore facebook & should join this website
    http://www.millatfacebook.com
    regardsRecommend

  • May 28, 2010 - 10:10AM

    LAME !

    As a reader commented, ‘A third rated idea to promote a third rated website !’

    I will enjoy IF Facebook sues MillatFacebook :PRecommend

  • Ammar
    May 28, 2010 - 11:07AM

    i myself wud love too if facebook is going to sue millatfacebook, dunno, when will we grow up, such a immature society we are living in! Recommend

  • May 28, 2010 - 12:43PM

    Glad that we have something of our own nowRecommend

  • lucky
    May 28, 2010 - 8:27PM

    congratulation 2 everyoneRecommend

  • Pakistan
    May 28, 2010 - 8:45PM

    dear all no one reinventing the wheel in this technology world. if someone reinventing that called foolish. millatfacebook is a good effort i appreciate it.

    i am working in huawei a Chinese company and they just copied every technology and now they are the telecoms giant all over the world.

    criticism is good but without a good knowledge its just a pin pointing with your own likes and dislikes. Everyone in Pakistan have a Europe and USA fobia please come out of it and do something by your own either copying a technology or improving a technology.

    Chinese are doing this and improving their situation but you all want to reinvent the wheel and not making any improvement.

    Think.Recommend

  • ghuznfar
    May 29, 2010 - 7:43PM
  • May 30, 2010 - 10:56AM

    Mmm, yeah, i am sure its a giant coincidence that Millatfacebook’s attorney just also happens to be one of the lawyers who got Facebook banned in Pakistan. This is exactly why censorship is a bad idea: because you literally can’t trust anyone to enforce the law blindly.

    http://everyonedrawmohammed.blogspot.com/2010/05/oh-this-is-interesting.htmlRecommend

  • May 31, 2010 - 10:31AM

    Fail on all levels.Recommend

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