This has been a tough year for Facebook. The Cambridge Analytica expose and the overall rise in the fake news has brought the Facebook juggernaut to a halt. Meanwhile, the company addressed this issue by introducing new privacy options, a redesign in the privacy UI and an option to download all the personal data that Facebook has collected so far. Papua New Guinea has taken an extra step and has decided to shut down Facebook for a month.
Why is PNG Banning Facebook?
Unlike other bans, this one is not aimed at maintaining political peace or curbing a newborn revolution. The Communications and Information Technology department has ordered Facebook to shut down the service while the authorities would research on how the social network was being used by the users.
While the Facebook is shut, the authorities will also gauge the positive impact (if any at all) it will have on the population. The progress without the use of Facebook will be documented and stacked against the progress with the use of Facebook.
“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. This will allow genuine people with real identities to use the social network responsibly”- Sam Basil, Papua New Guinea Communication Minister
Facebook has been taking flak for several real-world incidences caused by fake news that is crafted to fuel a certain propaganda. For instance, thousands of people from Rohingya Ethnic group had to flee Malaysia after they faced genocide in their own country. It is alleged that Facebook was used as a weapon to demean and spread negative sentiments against Rohingya people.
It is understandable that a ban like this might be subjected to severe public backlash. However, I personally feel that the time has come authorities and Facebook themselves takes into cognizance the negative effects the social media platform it has on humankind. Perhaps its time we take a small step backward and equip ourselves better before dealing with the negative aspects of Social Media.