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Facebook chief’s remark about UAE sets off controversy

|By Arabian Post Staff|The launch of video calling facility for the popular Whatsapp messenger application has set off a controversy following Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg’s indirect dig at the policy of the UAE telecom regulatory authority in blocking certain features of the social network’s popular app.

Zuckerberg had announced on Facebook on Tuesday that video calling would be possible on Whatsapp, which prompted a Maldivian living in the UAE to complain about the inability to use voice and video calls here. “You’ve got your government to thank for that one,” Zuckerberg wrote in his facebook post. The post soon became viral, with over 50,000 comments within hours.

Some of the comments were certainly uncharitable while some others cautioned respondents to be more careful in the choice of words.

The U.A.E.’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority maintains that VOIP services are allowed in the UAE, but only for the licensed operators. But since there are only two operators, both of which are allowed to operate like monopolies, this virtually acts like a ban for certain features of social network applications, including Viber.