x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Twitter users' anger after social networking website is blocked

Du apologises for mistake and thanks 'light-hearted' tweeters.

ABU DHABI // Some internet users found microblogging website Twitter was blocked for part of yesterday after what the provider Du described as a "glitch" in its system.

Users of the popular social networking site posted frustrated complaints and screenshots of Du's warning that the website was not accessible because it contained content prohibited by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority.

The problem appeared to start just before noon.

"The wonderful [Du] has blocked the Twitter website," tweeted Devina Divecha from Dubai under the screen name DevinaDivecha.

"Twitter blocked in the UAE; please help us guys," wrote Mbali Dlamini ("MissMbali").

Iyad Tibi in Dubai, a social media marketing strategist posting under the name iyadtb, asked users whether tweeting was considered haram during Ramadan and posted an image of Du's page blocking the site.

The company's twitter feed, dutweets, assured users that the block was a mistake.

It suggested changing the "http" prefix in the website address to "https" to fix the problem.

Later, the internet provider tweeted an apology. "OK folks, Twitter web is back. Thanks for being patient and light-hearted," it read.

Saugat Chatterjee, the company's manager of public relations, said there was no information available to comment on the temporary blockage of the website.

The UAE has the most active Twitter users among Arab nations, with slightly more than 201,000 people accessing the site, the Dubai School of Government reported in June.

Gulf residents have led the Arab world in their use of Twitter, with about 6.6 million people in the region using the site.

About one-sixth of them are "active", or tweeting at least once every two weeks.

econroy@thenational.ae