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Papua New Guinea Bans Facebook For a Month to Root Out ‘Fake Users’

The government is also aiming to enforce the Cyber Crime Act

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The Papua New Guinea government is planning to shut down Facebook for a month to understand users’ behaviour and safeguard them from fake news.

According to a report in The Post Courier on Monday, Communication Minister Sam Basil said the shutdown would enable the department and Papua New Guinea National Research Institute conduct research on how the social networking site is being used by users.

“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,” Basil was quoted as saying.

The effort is seen as to plug loopholes after the British political consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica improperly shared personal data of of 87 million Facebook users.

The data was gathered via a quiz app “thisisyourdigitallife” developed by Aleksandr Kogan, then a psychology researcher with University of Cambridge, and his company Global Science Research (GSR) which pulled out Facebook users’ data in 2014-2015.

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Representational image. Pixabay

According to Basil, the move will allow genuine people with real identities to use the social network responsibly.

Facebook was yet to comment on this development.

The government is also aiming to enforce the Cyber Crime Act.

Also Read: Hillary Clinton Wishes to Head the Facebook

“We cannot allow the abuse of Facebook to continue in the country. I will now work closely with the police for them to be properly trained and informed to fully enforce the Cyber Crime Act,” said Basil.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg last week apologised for the Cambridge Analytica data breach in front of the European Parliament (EU) leaders.

Zuckerberg stressed that the social networking giant is trying to plug loopholes across its services, including curbing fake news and political interference on its platform in the wake of upcoming elections globally, including in India. (IANS)

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Facebook Must End Far Right’s Fundraising: British Leader

In recent years, Facebook has suffered sustained criticism over its handling of a series of crises, including interference during the US presidential election 2016 and the Brexit vote, allowing dissemination of hate speech and a data breach affecting millions of users

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Facebook CEO must put an end to far-right activists’ fundraising on the social networking platform, said British Labour leader Tom Watson, while criticising Mark Zuckerberg for having a “contempt for social responsibility”, the media reported.

According to a Guardian report, Tommy Robinson, a British far-right activist with more than 1 million followers on Facebook, has been receiving financial, political and moral support from a hidden global network of US thinktanks, right-wing Australians and Russian trolls.

Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds through online donations, some via the social network.

Although Facebook has disabled Robinson’s access to the donate tool, meant to be reserved for charities alone, but supporters visiting Robinson’s Facebook profile continued to be directed towards his website where they could make donations through a form, the British daily reported on Saturday.

A Facebook spokesperson confirmed the action.

“We have removed the “Donate Now” button from this page. This function is only available for pages that list themselves as a “charitable organisation” and allows them to link to an external webpage of their choice. As this page is for a person we have now removed this,” the spokesperson was quoted as saying.

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Facebook is Robinson’s main social network after Twitter suspended him for claiming “Islam promotes killing people” in March, the report claimed.

In a blog post, Watson wrote: “Today I call on him to give a full explanation of how this dire breach of Facebook regulation occurred, pledge that it will never happen again, and, as an apology, make a match-fund donation to Hope Not Hate (a UK-based advocacy group).

Facebook should be ashamed that it had enabled Robinson’s efforts to “divide communities and stoke up hate”, said Matthew McGregor, Hope Not Hate’s campaigns director.

Also Read- Google Rolls Out Gender Specific Translation to Reduce Bias

“Facebook has continually failed to deal with the fact that their platform is vulnerable to exploitation by extremists, until after it is too late. Warm words after the damage is done don’t help reverse the damage caused,” he added.

In recent years, Facebook has suffered sustained criticism over its handling of a series of crises, including interference during the US presidential election 2016 and the Brexit vote, allowing dissemination of hate speech and a data breach affecting millions of users. (IANS)