Uzbekistan has launched YouFace.uz, a social networking site described as "Our answer to Facebook".
The interface on the new site looks very similar to Facebook in terms of layout and colouring, although the homepage also features a quotation from Uzbek President Islam Karimov. The site was set up by 22-year-old Ayyub Abdulloh with the backing four sponsors. As of May 31, it had attracted 332 members.
The Internet is tightly controlled in Uzbekistan, a country that Reporters without Borders lists as an "enemy of the internet", due to blocking of access to numerous sites, in particular opposition and foreign news sites. Access to Facebook and other social networking sites has been occasionally halted.
"Attempts to block social networks have been viewed by Uzbek netizens as a way for the government to prevent the dissemination of information and as a test for the future implementation of even more drastic restrictions on social networks," says Reporters without Borders.
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