Canada

Facebook faces off with Ontario gov't

Ontario government employees won't be among the 21 million worldwide users of the popular social networking website Facebook — at least while they're at work.

Ontario government employees won't be among the 21 million worldwide users of the popular social networking website Facebook — at least while they're at work.

Premier Dalton McGuinty saidThursdayhe doesn't see how Facebook — an internet phenomenon that allows members to display their profile, photographs, interests and comments to fellow users and reconnect with long-lost acquaintances — adds value to a workplace environment.

McGuinty was commenting a day after the province barred government staff from accessing the website from their workplace terminals.

When workers tried to log on to their accounts Wednesday, they were greeted with "access denied" messages on their screens in the same way as pornography and gambling sites are blocked on provincial computers.

The popular video-sharing site YouTube is also restricted.

Facebookis "puzzled" by the government's decision to restrict access to the site, said Chris Kelly, the company's vice-president and chief privacy officer.

"We are in contact with provincial officials and hope the situation will be resolved quickly," Kelly told CBC News Thursday in a statement.

McGuinty said it's important for the government to review websites that are accessible through its computers from time to time.

"The folks who work in government are made up of the sameDNA as the folks who work in every other sector," he said.

Bad news for Facebook addicts

Several Ontario MPPs have Facebook pages, including David Caplan, Rosario Marchese and Brad Duguid. Federal politicians with Facebook profiles include Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion andMichael Ignatieff.

Several Facebook members have startedgroups on the siteextolling and lamentingits addictive properties, withnumerous users claiming to check the sitemore than 20 times an hour.

Asof Thursday, the group "Stop McGuinty's Crusade Against Facebook" had 78 members, almostdouble the number of members as the "Dalton McGuinty is Handsome Club" page.

Facebook is also banned in most federal departments in Ottawa.

With files from the Canadian Press

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