Last week employees of the Ontario government were surprised to see “access denied” on their screen as they came to work and tried to log on to Facebook. According to Government Services Minister Gerry Phillips other sites such as YouTube, online poker gambling websites and hardcore sex sites are also part of the ban. With over 500,000 registered users in the Toronto area alone, Ontario has become the fastest are to use the social networking site which seemed to get a surge of new users within the last six months. The ban is also the complete opposite of what has been occurring in the Unites States, where presidential candidates have been embracing social media in some very surprising ways.

Perhaps this is the start of a shift with social media usage by governments and corporations. Is the “maturing of social media” finally upon us?

Ban on FacebookThe ban has triggered the creation of a new group on Facebook called “Stop the Ontario Government Employees Facebook Ban”, by Reuven Cohen. Reuven states the mission of the group is to :

1. To advocate fair and unbiased technology policies in Canada
2. To let our elected leaders know we demand an open and accessible government in Ontario without bias toward new and emerging social technology, practices, policies or forms of social interaction.