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Home / World / The government banned its citizens from Facebook for a month

The government banned its citizens from Facebook for a month



A whole country is planning to enforce a government-mandated Facebook ban.

The government of Papua New Guinea announced on Tuesday that it would block the social network for a month, allowing researchers to identify fake accounts and users who publish pornography and misinformation, according to the Papua New Guinea postman Sam Basil, the Minister of Communications of New Guinea, told the newspaper that the temporary closure would allow researchers to analyze how Facebook is used in the country and to investigate the development of their own social network for the citizens of the nation. Basil said that preventing access to Facebook in the country could reveal benefits to the population or lead to the conclusion that people are actually better off.

Basil did not say when the ban would begin, the courier said. Facebook said Tuesday in a statement to the Washington Post: "We've turned to the government to understand their concerns."

Estimates by the Australian Broadcasting Corp. About 600,000 to 700,000 people in Papua New Guinea use Facebook from a population of about 8 million.

Facebook, which has more than 2 billion users, is increasingly under pressure from skeptical governments around the world. Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg suffered grilling from dozens of US legislators last month, repeatedly apologizing and pledging changes to the privacy policy following the Cambridge Analytica scandal. And last week, Zuckerberg in Brussels asked questions from frustrated members of the European Parliament, who attacked him because of the company's recent disagreements over privacy and misinformation.

Recent hearings in Europe and the United States also reflect a growing disagreement with Facebook's dominating position in the market, with legislators pushing Zuckerberg to identify which companies are in competition with his. Critics of Facebook say the company deserves a thorough examination, given its apology and promise story. Some have argued that Facebook should be smashed or face new regulations that address the increasing power and influence of massive technology platforms.

The months-long censorship in Papua New Guinea could also lead to the creation of an alternative to Silicon Valley Facebook suggested Basil. "If need be, then we can bring our local application developers together to create a website that can better communicate Papua New Guinea, both within the country and abroad," Basil told the Post-Courier.

Earlier in the year, Sri Lankan officials imposed a one-week ban on the social networking site. The government banned Facebook on the grounds that the platform was used to fuel religious violence in the country. Authoritarian governments, including Iran and China, have also blocked access to Facebook to censor the media and the flow of information.


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