A Moroccan man by the name of Fouad Mourtada has been arrested and put in jail because he created a fake Facebook profile for the king’s brother, crown prince Moulay Rachid. The official Moroccan news agency MAP did not even bother with the presumption of innocence:
Les services de sécurité marocains ont procédé à l’arrestation, mercredi à Casablanca, pour pratiques crapuleuses d’un individu qui a usurpé l’identité de Son Altesse Royale le Prince Moulay Rachid sur le site Internet www.facebook.com, a-t-on appris de source policière.
The accused is referred to as having “villainous practices.” The release has since been taken down from the site, but you can read its Google cache. It’s unclear how the police found the man, and whether Facebook released his IP address.
Just the other day, a New York Times reporter called to ask me about blogging in Morocco, and the relationship between new media and traditional media. The Moroccan government has so far–and wisely–left bloggers alone, but if someone can get put in jail for something as silly as a fake Facebook profile, then bloggers should be worried.