Papua New Guinea is the most recent country to take a harsh stand against Facebook by banning the social media giant for a month. This decision was made because of a large number of fake accounts and the massive volume of pornography that was spread via Facebook. Sources have indicated that the country is shutting down access to the social networking website for one month.
This temporary shutdown will allow analysts and researchers to scan through Facebook and analyze who is using the platform and how. Commenting on this new development, Communications Minister Sam Basil said, “The time will allow information to be collected to identify users that hide behind fake accounts, users that upload pornographic images, users that post false and misleading information on Facebook to be filtered and removed.”
He further added, “This will allow genuine people with real identities to use the social network responsibly.”
Once the access is blocked, the government will also assess whether the country is better with or without Facebook. Basil also indicated a possibility of having a homegrown social media platform that would be equivalent to Facebook, and that it would require genuine profiles.
Basil stated, “We can gather our local applications developers to create a site that is more conducive for Papua New Guineans to communicate within the country and abroad as well.” He also commented that the police are trained to tackle cyber-crime and enforce the Cyber Crimes Act effectively.
Facebook has reached out to PNG officials to try to understand their concerns. The social media company has come under severe criticism around the world, particularly over data privacy. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been answering questions from some of the frustrated lawmakers and regulators across the U.S. and Europe.
Earlier in March, Sri Lanka blocked access to Facebook for a week to stop hate speech that was perceived to instigate mob violence. The company holds a significant monopoly in many of the developing countries.