Papua New Guinea wants to ban Facebook

Papua New Guinea wants to ban Facebook
Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook. Photo: JD Lasica, Wikimedia Commons

Due to alleged illegal activities, the Papua New Guinea Government might decide to temporarily ban facebook. The government’s plan is to ban the popular social network for one month, in order to investigate any illegal activities.

In the year when online criminal and privacy security breaches are on the rise, it is hard to determine one’s true intentions on social networks. The government is concerned that the popular social platform is being used illegally, by a large number of fake users.

Even though only about 12% of the country actually uses the Internet, critics are predicting that this ban might cause a backlash among the citizens.

State officials will investigate illegal activities

Papua New Guinea’s government wants to clear out online fake users and illegal activities. Island’s communication minister, Sam Basil, explained that by banning Facebook for a one-month period, the government will allow analysts to study Facebook trends and usage.

The goal is to remove fake accounts, fake and misleading news and pornography. As Basil explained, by removing any illegal activity from Facebook, the real users will be safer while sharing their content and information online.

This short-term ban is also supported by law, as Papua New Guinea passed a Cyber Crime Act in 2016, which allows authorities to enforce the ban if they suspect any illegal online activities.

As social media has become more than just a place to hang in your free time, Basil added that the government might have a solution for Facebook users. He explained that there is a consideration to establish a state-run social network.

According to the state officials, having a state-run social media network will allow them to closely monitor and control users activites but also detect cyber criminal activities faster. The network would be developed by local developers with a goal to imporve social media communications withing the country and abrouad.

Facebook is blamed for sharing fake news

It is reported that one of the main reason for this decision is the recent fake news outrage on Facebook. The governemnt cited 2016 U.S. presidental election and Brexit campaign events as one of the main resons to enforce the ban.

In addition, the popular network was accused of allowing users to spread hatred toward Rohingya poeple in Myanmar. These events lead to thousends of people being forced to leave the country and ehhance ethnical hatred.

Papua New Guinea is not the first country to ban Facebook. Countries like China and North Korea have alrready banned the social networks. Sri Lanka’s officials have also banned Facebook earlier this week. The social network was banned for a week and accused of spreading violence across the country.

The oposition leader believes that the government wants to controll social media

As the Facebook ban is pushed by the government, oposition leader Bryan Kramer believes that fighiting online criminal might not be their real intentions. In his recent statement, Kramer said that it is more likely that the state officials are trying to silent those users who are agressively critical of their policies.

Bryan Kramer is not the only one who believes that this ban is a goverment’s attempt to control social media. Human rights groups and activists have also epxressed their concerned that the ban is worrying and authoritarian, as no one should descide what users should be able to see.

The oposition and social groups arewondering why the network needs to banned in order to finalise the user research, when analysis can be done without banning users to log into their Facebook accounts. Although this ban will only affect a smoll proportion of the citizens, people of Papue New Guinea are not satified with the way the govermenrt is handling their social media research.

The government has yet to confirm when the band will take place, but many suspect that it would happen during the Asia-pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders summit that will be held later this year.