Indian Institute of Technology-Madras has blocked access to popular social networking site Facebook on campus. The move has nothing to do with moral policing, said faculty members, but is meant to free up a congested campus network.
Access to Facebook has been blocked in the institute’s hostels since last week. IIT-M dean of students L S Ganesh said, “It has been blocked for some time. The network was getting severely clogged because of the amount of traffic .”
Since increasing the number of seats at IIT-M , the institute is trying to make optimal use of available resources. Freshers are asked not to carry a personal computer or laptop in the first semester, so they can get familiar with the campus and enjoy its beauty. In the second semester most get a laptop , and usage is more than the institution’s bandwidth can handle.
“You can build a six-way highway, but too many cars can still make going slow. Then we are left with only two options – expand the highway or think about changing the traffic pattern. Usually the first option is not open. Our networks team is working diligently to see that the campus network works more efficiently ,” Prof Ganesh said.
But tech-savvy students have found a way to access the website. “We can use Facebook through a proxy website or by making a small change to the URL. Anyway, usage is not excessive , so nobody seems to be overly upset that the site has been blocked,” said a student.
However, with the institute’s annual cultural festival Saarang scheduled to begin on Tuesday, many students said they were not being able to promote events on the social networking website, where it could catch more eyeballs among the target group than any other type of advertisement .
Technical experts said that it was unusual for one of the country’s premier technical institutes to have to resort to blocking a site to ensure smooth traffic online.