Rabat – Following in the footsteps of doctors in China and South Korea, Algerian psychologists have opened a private clinic to help addicts suffering from “Facebook dependency.”The private facility, the first of its kind in North Africa, was opened in May in Constantine, a city in eastern Algeria. It offers programs specifically designed to help users who spend huge amounts of time on the social network. This initiative is especially important amid fears that vulnerable users are becoming brainwashed by extremist Islamist groups on the social network.According to The New Arab, the clinic is run by a human development scientist Raouf Boqafa, who is working with a group of psychiatrists to address other addictions such as drugs, alcohol and smoking. The private facility is staffed by addiction specialists and psychologists with a special program to wean users off of Facebook. Algeria has approximately 10 million Facebook users, a number that is expected to grow annually by ten percent.“There is some danger in underestimating the damage of Facebook addiction compared to the risk of physical drugs,” Boqafa said. The Algerian human development scientist compared the effects of the social media network to “black magic”, arguing that Facebook poses the greatest danger.He added that the clinic hopes to “reduce the psychological, social and security damage experienced by one who lives in the virtual world.”

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