Facebook Ban in Ateneo de Davao University Spurs Protests - TechPinas Founder Notes 4 : Of Democracy

Some students and members of the faculty of Ateneo de Davao University are protesting the banning of Facebook in their school.

facebook ban

Joining other protesters in a picket line, one student told GMA News TV that no proper consultation was done with the student body as regards the FB Ban. Others followed up that the school requires them to pay 'information technology fee' every semester so access to social networking sites should be included in the services provided by AdDU.

facebook ban
All photos in this post courtesy of GMA News TV

Some members of the faculty, on the other hand, wrote an open letter to school officials on the case. Here's a section of their protest note --

The College Faculty Union of Ateneo de Davao University (CFU) vehemently protests the blocking of social networking sites such as Facebook and Friendster, including other sites. The blocking is initiated by the Technical Service Office (TSO) of the university, as the internet site claims to be [sic]. This infringes on the freedom of information and of expression which requires thorough discussion beforehand to determine what constitutes a violation or not. The CFU will file grievance as initial and LEGAL response directed to the head of TSO.

facebook ban

Jeremy Eliab, Assistant to the President of Ateneo de Davao University, was quick to explain the reason behind the FB ban in their school. He told GMA News TV, "[Most of our books [...] are online. [...] It would be impossible to access these books if Facebook is eating the bandwidth]." He also said that the prohibition will only be implemented from 8AM to 5PM.

Mark's Thoughts

1. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure out the real reason behind this ban. Facebook use is being seen as a potential cause of decline in performance not only of students but also of school personnel. And sadly, there's some truth to it. In fact, earlier this month, another university in Mindanao also banned Facebook use in campus, as no less than the school President caught some employees chatting and playing games on FB during office hours.

2. Nonetheless, one can't discount the high-level of e-learning users can get from Facebook. Being the most visited website in the Philippines and the leading social networking site in the world today, Facebook offers perhaps the best practices in handling social media and sharing the world's information -- something that aspiring Information Technology, Online Marketing and Social Media professionals can learn greatly from. And also, in today's world - where almost everyone has an online existence, social networking has become a necessity that needs to be provided -- constantly.

3. Both parties in this case have valid points. However, I have to agree with the protesters that proper consultation should have been done prior to the banning of Facebook in their campus. Because that's how it is in a democracy. All stakeholders have to be heard before any policy (or change in policy, for that matter) affecting them gets implemented.

In the spirit of fair blogging, TP is open to publishing Ateneo de Davao University's official statement on this issue if and when the school releases it.

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