Porn sites with Sri Lankan stars return as Facebook remains shut
By Our Police Correspondent
Mar 14, 2018 14:18 PM GMT+0530 | 1 Comment(s)
ECONOMYNEXT - Sri Lanka may have blocked access to social media sites such as the Facebook, but the online crackdown appears to have had a flip side with hundreds of porn sites making a comeback.
While 6.2 million people using Facebook through Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in Sri Lanka could not access their pages, the pornographic sites banned many years ago for featuring Sri Lankan men and women were suddenly visible to local audiences.
Eight years ago, police secured court orders to block access to hundreds of sites which they said featured local stars. However, most of them were freely available this week without any disruptions by ISPs.
Porn sharing websites such as redtube.com and tube8.com were blocked after police identified several videos of Sri Lankans featured in them. However, these were visible again for those going through local ISPs.
Earlier, porn watchers had to use virtual private networks (VPN) or proxy servers to access those sites blocked by Sri Lankan authorities. Not anymore.
It is not clear if the ban on porn sites was lifted as an unintended consequence of cracking down on Facebook or a deliberate move to keep audience attention diverted and reduce criticism of the censoring authorities.
There are reports that Sri Lankan ISPs were making more money during the social media shut down because users now have to use bandwidth gobbling VPN. That means more data consumption that is good for Telcos.
Or the higher revenue comes from pent-up demand for local porn.
While Sri Lankan hate mongers may not be able to spew venom online, they can divert their testosterone elsewhere by watching local porn without burning too much data.
The government shut down access to Facebook and curtailed services on messaging platforms after police said they were being used to spread anti-Muslim hate speech and instigate violence.
The government has said it will open talks with Facebook executives in Colombo Thursday and was hopeful, not certain, of lifting the ban by Friday. However, It would be subject to Facebook agreeing to tighten its controls over hate speech. In the meantime, Sri Lankans can view uninterrupted porn. (COLOMBO, March 14, 2018)