Facebook blocks – then unblocks – Danish sites

Many Danish websites are being blocked by the social networking giant, but after media attention some blocks are lifted

The blog on Danish start-up companies, Trendsonline.dk, is one of the lucky ones. The site had been blocked by social media behemoth Facebook, but following an investigation by public broadcaster DR, Facebook lifted the ban. 

“I’m ecstatic,”  the site’s owner, Daniel Laursen, who claimed to have sent over 50 emails to Facebook over the past two months to no avail, told DR after hearing from the news. “I’m just hoping it’s not a temporary measure.”

The website is one of three Danish sites that are now able to link their pages to Facebook without the risk of being blocked by the service.

While Facebook’s Danish press agent, Frida Löwengren, confirmed the move, she also acknowledged that a two month wait for results from the company is unacceptable.

“It’s unfortunate that some users haven’t gotten the full attention of Facebook," she told DR. "We as an international organisation want to be seen as approachable company.”

While the news was welcomed by Laursen, it turns out that hundreds of other websites face a similar battle, as they still remain unable to interact with followers on Facebook. Facebook, which has a total of three million Danish users, has blocked other sites that use the same server as Trendsonline.dk.

The server was blocked to control spam messaging, a standard practise that Facebook has used to ban hundreds of sites from particular servers. The problem for businesses on the targeted servers is that they are not able to have their links shared on Facebook, therefore cutting them off from clients and potential customers.

Janne Schmidt Nielsen, who is a specialist in social media and the owner of a consulting firm called Den Skæve Vinkel, told DR that this is a clear example of how companies are all too reliant on Facebook for competitive survival.

"If Facebook cuts a company off from the rest of the world, it renders networks that have been built up over time as completely useless," she told DR. "It’s like they’ve pulled the carpet out from underneath their feet.”

It’s a point backed up by Lars Damgaard Nielsen, DR's social media editor. He pointed out that this is an example of the power that Facebook currently possesses.

“It’s not just a social network, but it’s also a portal to the internet. And with there being no other real alternatives for companies to turn to, blocked sites from Facebook are simply being left out in the cold.”

Facebook recently announced it now has an excess of one billion members on their network.