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29 May, 2018 16:34

PNG’s Facebook ban: Govt declares war on porn & fake news

PNG’s Facebook ban: Govt declares war on porn & fake news

Facebook is set to be banned in Papua New Guinea while the government hunts out fake profiles and porn, and assesses the social media network’s effect on the population, the country’s communications minister has said.

Papua New Guinea’s (PNG) Communications and Information Technology Department, together with the National Research Institute, will research how the platform is being used by locals, and Facebook will be banned in PNG for one month.

“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,” Communications Minister Sam Basil told local media outlet the Post-Courier.

Basil also floated the idea that PNG could create its own indigenous version of Facebook to rival the social network, as the country seeks to clamp down on the spread of so-called fake news and the dissemination of pornagraphic images.

Out of a population of just over 8 million, only an estimated 12 percent of those have access to the internet.

Further to conducting an audit of Facebook, the month-long outage also gives the government time to enforce the CyberCrime Act, passed in 2016, which criminalises online activities including hacking, cyber-bullying, identity theft, unlawful advertising, and the production and publication of pornography.

The world’s largest social network has come under increasing scrutiny from government in recent months over how user data is managed – and by whom – in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

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