Update: Maryland General Assembly has removed the ban on Facebook and will allow access to the site soon. As of February 11, 2009, MySpace continues to be blocked.
The rise in the number of viruses targeting social networks such as Facebook and MySpace has prompted the Maryland General Assembly to ban the two services from its computers and networks, according to a local blogger, who managed to get ahold of the memo outlining the ban. The services won’t be available from the computers of state legislators and their staffs, apparently avid users of Facebook.
With the beginning of the 2009 Legislative Session, we have observed a significant increase in viruses and malware affecting the Maryland General Assembly computers. After several weeks of analysis, we have determined that many of the infecting programs are originating from pages hosted on http://www.facebook.com and http://www.myspace.com. In an attempt to reduce the number of viruses and malware entering the Maryland General Assembly facilities, we have blocked access to both of these sites. As our analysis continues and additional websites are identified as problematic, we will be blocking these as well.
I wonder if this ban is actually the start of a much larger trend that turns into a headache for these social networks.