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Papua New Guinea to Shut Down Facebook For a Month

Written by Nitish Singh
Last updated July 12, 2021

Eight million people of Papua New Guinea will be left without Facebook for a month after the government of the country decided to block the social media platform. The shutdown will allow the government to analyze the impact of fake news and porn on the website. The government may also consider putting out its own social media platform for citizens as a replacement for Facebook.

During the one-month shutdown, the government will collect data involving fake accounts, misleading information, and porn. All such content will be removed according to Papua New Guinea's Communications Minister Sam Basil. The move will help Papua New Guinean citizens with legit accounts to safely use Facebook without being misled by propaganda or fake news that is commonly found on the social media platform. Hate speech and fake news have become major issues on a platform with countries like Myanmar being the center of spreading hate speech recently.

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The shutdown is completely legal and under the Cyber Crime Act of Papua New Guinea which was established in 2016. Facebook is already out of commission in countries like Iran, North Korea, and China. Users can continue using the social media platform through the use of VPNs and other workarounds. Depending on how strict the Papua New Guinea government is, workarounds may or may not be difficult to use for its citizens.

The government will also assess the damage caused by Facebook when millions of users had their data leaked in the Cambridge Analytica scandal earlier this year. The social media company has been facing constant criticism, and it is taking measures to ensure such an incident does not happen again. CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been part of multiple hearings with government bodies about the scandal to discuss data privacy policies and how the social media company plans on tackling privacy beaches.



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