By: Jahanzaib Haque/Naureen Aqueel
More than 38 major businesses and NGOs in Pakistan have been hit by the nationwide ban on popular social networking website Facebook.
Companies like uFone, Mobilink, Zong, DELL Pakistan and Pepsi Pakistan that have active Facebook pages with the number of members lying between 10,000 to 99,000, have been cut off from what was otherwise an easily accessible audience for marketing purposes.
Additionally, at least 500 companies in Pakistan having a Facebook presence are currently suffering as a result of the ongoing ban.
Facebook is one of the most popular social media platforms used by corporate and community organistations to connect easily with their targeted markets. Information about new products and services, events and community-based development projects are often communicated through Facebook pages.
Using Facebook pages has been so effective that some small companies have carried out their businesses solely by marketing on Facebook. Many local companies also use Facebook ads which can be obtained at a low cost to reach out to wider audiences.
All such activities came to a halt with Pakistan Telecommunication Authority’s (PTA) ban on Facebook throughout the country. Companies who had already bought ad space from Facebook for a specified number of days have lost out on their investments as the Pakistani market will be unable to see the ads on Facebook till May 31.
There is some good news for these companies and NGOs as Facebook has opted to remove the offending page which had begun this controversy, but it remains to be seen whether the ban on Facebook will be removed or extended beyond May 31.
Below follows a list of businesses and NGOs affected by the Facebook ban. The list has been obtained from:
Business Pages (Commercial pages. Includes services.)
- uFone –99,416 members — Wireless / Cellular Provider
- RealityPod –69,868 members — Technology, Robotics and Gadgets Portal
- Mobilink — 28,448 members — Wireless / Cellular Service Provider
- Zong — 20,882 members — Wireless/Cellular Provider
- DELL Pakistan — 26,294 members — equipment provider
- DAWN.COM — 16,000 members — provides news
- PEPSI Pakistan — 13,271 members — beverage manufacturer
- Google Pakistan –4,206 members — Google.com.pk Facebook presence
- Newsweek Pakistan — 7,802 members — news provider
- Cinnabon Pakistan — 4,465 members
- Wi-Tribe 5,272 members — Wireless Broadband Provider
- Levi’s Pakistan — 18,902 members
- ETail.Pk — 3,821 members — Online Store
- Standard Chartered Pakistan — 1,333 members – Bank
- The Express Tribune – 2,050 members – provides news
- CIO Pakistan — 863 members — provides news
- Inspurate Design — Graphic & Web Design Service provider
- Karachi Snob — Restaurant Agregator
- Daaman — 47,101 members — Fashion label
- iinix — Systems services
- Telenor Easy Paisa — 24,000 members — micro-payments and mobile banking service. Everyday citizen is direct beneficiary of this product and its page
- WordPL (the voice of the small biz owner) – 112 members — Helping Pakistanis Make an Online Living
NGOs/ Community-Based Organizations’ Pages All non-profit, advocacy organizations)
- The Second Floor (T2F) — 5,462 members — Community organizations
- Pakistan Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) — 2,717 members
- TiE Lahore Chapter
- TiE Karachi Chapter
- Strengthening Democracy Through Parliamentary Debate
- Pakistan Changemakers Hub — 311 members — Connecting community leaders with the public, to enable change for all
- Pakistan Sustainability Network — 1170 members — Connecting people and organizations working for environment (renewable/ alternate energy, recycling, cleanliness drives, carbon footprint reduction, etc.)
- SAYA Trust – 801 members — All fundraising activity for this school for the IDP’s living in slums of Islamabad is conducted via a Facebook campaign.
Organizational/ Institutional Pages (Universities, governmental agencies, utilities, etc.)
- LUMS — 3,533 members –University
- IBA — 1,186 members – University
- Karachi University — 738 members — University
- NED — 3,823 member — University
- Mehran University
- KESC-Official — 5,000 members — Karachi Electric Supply Corporation uses this page to stay in contact with consumers
- Pakistan Army — 13,980 members
- Higher Education Commission of Pakistan (HEC)– 3,874 members — Pakistan Government
- U.S. Embassy Pakistan — 1,619 members