MySpace, Facebook users at Vatican hit firewalls


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VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Vatican employees are now banned from accessing some social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace while at work. People trying to poke a friend or post a status update on their Facebook page from a computer connected to the Vatican network will instead hit a powerful firewall that says the requested page cannot be viewed because it does not fulfill the network's "access protection criteria."

The Vatican spokesman said the move is a "normal and prudent" measure that reflects similar strategies taken by other companies around the world that have blocked employee usage of social networking sites on office networks.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, the spokesman, told Catholic News Service June 16 that "there is nothing surprising" about the new ban.

Like many employers, the Vatican has long had firewalls installed on its network to block access to pornography, online gambling, and, according to the firewall warning page itself, any site that contains "inappropriate material."