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Posted On: 10 February 2009 09:00 am
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:09 pm

Complaints forced Qtel to block top-rated site

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A social networking site that last week ranked among Qatar’s top 10 most frequented websites has been blocked by Qtel amid complaints from the public. On the weekend internet users in Qatar were unable to access, in spite of its ranking last week in the top sites accessed within Qatar and the world. Qtel said the site was blocked under the telecommunications company’s Community Internet Safety Policy. claims to have 70 million registered users worldwide. In response to questions put by The Peninsula yesterday, Adel Al Mutawa, Executive Director, Group Communications for Qtel said the decision to block the site was taken because there was insufficient classification or tagging available within “to selectively apply filters only for 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. 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 said. “Qtel believes it has a duty of care to the community, and we will continue to uphold the Internet community safety policy. We will review decisions to block sites on a case-by-case basis, and will use the advanced technology at our disposal to ensure a balance between Internet access-for-all and community values.” Al Mutawa said Qtel’s Internet Safety technology has been aligned with the filter technology of the world’s most popular video sharing site, so that Qatar-based customers can access everything apart from material that is tagged as inappropriate content. In his statement Al Mutawa told The Peninsula given the complexity and size of the internet, and the potential for illicit sites to attempt to disguise harmful material, Qtel is aware of cases where legitimate sites have been accidentally blocked. Internet end users who feel a site has been blocked unfairly can contact [email protected] and request a review of the decision. He said equally, community members who feel a specific site contains harmful material can contact the same address with a request to review a site.