Facebook shuts Ulfa-I account

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Guwahati, June 25: Facebook has blocked Ulfa’s (Independent) account for the second time following a recent request by Assam police to prevent the banned organisation from attracting youths through social media.
The state police had written to the US-based Facebook authorities through the Centre with a request to block the page after the outfit opened an account for the second time. Sources said the outfit had changed the IP (Internet protocol) address and opened the second account after the state police blocked the first one.
The outfit on June 16 announced that it had created a Facebook account to make social media a part of its “revolutionary journey as an experiment”. The account was blocked on June 18. But the police found the account had been reopened the next day.
The outfit has also shared video of an abducted tea garden worker in Upper Assam and also their cadres disclosing the outfit’s plan to attack the state police.
The state police were worried as many became “friends” within hours of opening of the account, named Ulfa Swadhin, and some even shared their phone numbers on the wall of the first account, expressing their willingness to join the outfit.
The development came amid the police’s “cyber patrol” following the lynching of 2 youths in Karbi Anglong district on June 8, which was aided by rumours swirling on the social media.
Sources, however, said the outfit could again open an account as it uses proxy servers to avoid tracking by intelligence agencies. “Use of Facebook may be new for Ulfa, but many terrorist organisations have been using social media platforms for long. We will continue to keep watch and make sure that the outfit can’t reap much benefit from this,” a senior Assam police officer said.
The use of Facebook is seen as the outfit’s attempt to go beyond its conventional line of communication with people, which was limited to emails or telephone interviews to print and electronic media.
The state police recently opened a social media monitoring cell. (TTNE)