Algeria opens ‘Facebook addiction’ clinic

Algeria has become the third country in the world to open a private clinic to stop "Facebook dependency" in the North African country, following in the footsteps of China and South Korea.

The clinic, which was opened in May in Constantine in Algeria's east, is staffed by addiction specialists and psychologists with a special program to wean users off of Facebook, reports The New Arab on Sunday.

Around 10 million Algerians use Facebook, and each year the "addiction" to the social media network grows by another 10% of the population.

Human development specialist Raouf Boqafa directs the clinic, even as he works with psychiatrists to tackle other addictions including drugs and alcohol.

"There is some danger in underestimating the damage of Facebook addiction compared to the risk of physical drugs," said Boqafa.

He compared Facebook to "black magic," and asserted that Facebook is even more dangerous than drugs, alcohol and other addictive substances.

Boqafa termed the phenomenon "blue magic…the magic of Facebook and the wider internet," in reference to Facebook's blue logo.

"The idea came to limit the three effects of the addiction…to reduce the psychological, social, and security damage experienced by one who lives in the virtual world," asserted the clinic director.

According to Boqafa, "Facebook addicts" are more prone to brainwashing by extremist Islamist groups such as Islamic State (ISIS) that intensively use the internet to recruit terrorists.

He noted the center helps counsel those who overuse Facebook in hopes they will find the reason for their addiction and lessen their dependency.


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