The United Arab Emirates has apparently banned Twitter because its content is “not consistent with the religious, cultural, political and moral values” of the country.
The report comes from investor Joi Ito, who posted this screenshot (below) on his blog while traveling through the country and experiencing the ban first-hand. He comments here, however, that he was able access Twitter from his hotel and the airport.
The UAE has been blocking at least some Twitter users since the summer, according to the Committee to Protect Bloggers.
Twitter cofounder Biz Stone says that the company can’t officially confirm the lockout because it isn’t in contact with UAE representatives. He tells us that Twitter is still serving traffic to the region, and that he hasn’t heard any reports that text messaging or instant messaging interaction with Twitter has been impacted.
The UAE has also banned a number of popular web services, such as Flickr, Myspace, Skype and YouTube — although some of these sites are no longer banned. Sporadic access to international web services appears to be the norm in the country. Reports of a ban on Facebook also surfaced earlier this year but the site is apparently accessible now.
Of course, there’s not always a purely moral rationale behind such bans. The ban on Skype may be to maintain the profits of UAE’s incumbent telelecommunications conglomerate, Etisalat.
People have developed ways of working around such bans in order to access some of these services. If you want to access Flickr, for example, you can use the Firefox plugin that Iranian photographer Hamed Saber released earlier this year. It will let you circumvent the internet filters of any country where the site is banned.