This 16-Year-Old Boy’s Homegrown Version of Facebook Helps Kashmiris Overcome the Social Media Ban

Developed by Zeyan Shafiq, an Anantnag resident, the app gives local people a chance to communicate using the Kashmiri language.

Imagine a day without your smartphone.

Alright, not so stressful, but no social networking sites or apps.

In a world connected, nay ruled by the Internet, imagining such a scenario can certainly be difficult.

The state of people in Kashmir has been living in such a scenario, since April this year. No Facebook, no Twitter and no Whatsapp. Citing the misuse of social networking sites by anti-national organisations, the state government had imposed a ban on about 22 websites that included Facebook and Twitter in Kashmir.

In the face of a widespread social media ban, a 16-year old boy has developed an app that would keep local people connected.

Zeyan Shafiq. Source: Facebook

Zeyan Shafiq, hailing from Anantnag, has created his own version of Facebook, and guess what has he named it.

KashBook- Kashmir’s own social network.

Zeyan, a class 10 student, initially launched the site in 2013 along with his friend Uzair Jain. Now, with the social media ban, the site has resurfaced as an app in Google Play store, attracting thousands of users to downloads it and start chatting.

The ultimate win for the app is that users get an option to communicate in the Kashmiri language.

“The government has blocked access to all the social networks and they are blocking VPNs too. So, when they’ll block the whole access to social media then how will people from valley stay connected with each other? KashBook is the answer to social media gag,” Zeyan said, as reported by TOI.

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While many have resorted to using VPN connection, so they can defy the ban and access various social media websites, KashBook works without the need for such connections, making it easier for people to access and help people add other people and chat with them or post messages; just like Facebook.

Zeyan has said that he hopes to use the app in promoting goods and services made in Kashmir.

“Besides, many young people can learn from this initiative and take this as a challenge and invent and develop new things which can serve as tools for betterment of Kashmir and Kashmiris,” he said.

You can download the KashBook app here.

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