Please help me connect to Facebook in Indonesia
January 11, 2012 1:59 AM   Subscribe

I am currently Traveling in Indonesia and cannot connect to either Facebook or twitter. I am on a mac which is returning a timeout for the server. i am connected via a cable modem through an ethernet cable. Two other computers - one a mac and one a PC are able to connect to my account via this same cable. I am able to connect to other internet sites with my mac and am also able to connect to facebook and twitter via the aformentioned guest computers. Can you help me Hive?
posted by citybuddha to Computers & Internet (5 answers total)
Have you tried a different browser on the mac?

What are the results of a traceroute to the sites you cannot reach?
posted by Busy Old Fool at 2:32 AM on January 11, 2012

Response by poster: Same issue with safari. I am not sure what a traceroute is. Please enlighten.
posted by citybuddha at 5:39 AM on January 11, 2012

The first three results for 'traceroute mac' on Google. Please paste in the results, along with the results when you do a traceroute from one of the other computers which can connect fine.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 5:51 AM on January 11, 2012

Response by poster: here is the negative result traceroute

Traceroute has started ...

traceroute to (, 64 hops max, 40 byte packets
1 ( 0.762 ms 0.790 ms 0.333 ms
2 ( 21.322 ms 22.653 ms 22.616 ms
3 ( 21.588 ms 31.645 ms 21.838 ms
4 ( 66.150 ms 66.082 ms 67.740 ms
5 ( 67.472 ms 67.051 ms 66.280 ms
6 ( 63.919 ms 66.902 ms 64.579 ms
7 ( 63.779 ms 68.366 ms 63.447 ms
8 ( 62.315 ms 62.534 ms 61.303 ms
9 ( 106.250 ms ( 109.918 ms ( 104.355 ms
10 * * *
11 ( 349.547 ms 350.406 ms 353.008 ms
12 ( 361.948 ms 359.700 ms ( 345.727 ms
13 ( 358.116 ms 357.572 ms 342.722 ms
14 ( 446.217 ms 324.925 ms 284.766 ms
15 ( 329.022 ms !H 294.147 ms !H *
posted by citybuddha at 3:31 PM on January 11, 2012

You might find this hard to believe, but you're actually getting blocked by the Great Firewall of China! Yes, in Indonesia. If you just want to solve the problem, skip the next two paragraphs which explain how it came about.

Each device connected to the internet uses an IP address (e.g. to identify itself. These are mapped to domain names (e.g. using a system called DNS. This system is distributed, which means that there is no single directory but rather a hierarchical network of them, copying higher-level directories and being copied by lower-level directories. Of the 13 'root servers', three (named F, I and J) have 'instances' (servers holding copies of their directory) in China.

One of the methods that the Chinese government uses to stop people from accessing banned sites is by giving incorrect results when users' browsers look up these sites using DNS. This is supposed to only affect users within China, but due to the way that DNS works, these incorrect results have leaked out to the wider internet. One known false result is saying that is located at, which is actually an IP address owned by an ISP in Ireland. That is the result that your ISP is currently giving your browser when you try to connect to Facebook and that is why your browser cannot connect. There are a couple of possible reasons why this isn't affecting the other computers, but I can't tell without further investigation which one is the cause.

Anyway, how can you solve this? You might be able to do it by flushing your DNS cache. I don't use a Mac, but I understand that you can do this in Terminal by typing on OS X 10.5, 10.6, or 10.7:
dscacheutil -flushcache
or on OS X 10.4:
lookupd -flushcache
That is not guaranteed to work, but is probably the quickest solution if it does. If not, you can change your DNS provider, for example to Google Public DNS. Instructions for doing this on OS X are a third of the way down this page.

PS That was a surprisingly interesting solution to seemingly humdrum question - glad I answered it!
PPS Enjoy Indonesia! I spent a great couple of weeks on holiday there a few years back.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 4:46 AM on January 12, 2012

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