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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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LinkedIn faced probe for Facebook ads targeting 18 mn non-members. Pixabay

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.

Representational image.
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.

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“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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Social Media Giant Facebook Requires ‘Significant Work’ to Stop Political Bias

“We don’t allow content that might encourage offline harm or is intended to intimidate, exclude or silence people,” he added

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FILE - The logo for Facebook appears on screens at the Nasdaq MarketSite, in New York's Times Square, March 29, 2018. VOA

Facebook has released results of an independent internal audit conducted by a former Republican senator that found the social networking giant has been biased against conservatives and needs to do “significant work” to stop this.

Former Senator Jon Kyl, a respected Republican and his team at the law firm Covington and Burling met with more than 130 leading conservative politicians and organizations and produced the report.

Facebook has long been accused of bias against conservative viewpoints to appear on its platform

“Although these concerns appear across the political and ideological spectrum, members of the conservative community in particular are concerned that the Silicon Valley-based company’s admittedly liberal culture negatively influences the reach of conservative ideas and news.”

“Political conservatives, religious traditionalists, and others are increasingly feeling marginalised by cultural ‘gatekeepers’ such as social media, entertainment media, and academia,” the report said.

According to Nick Clegg, Vice President of Global Affairs and Communications at Facebook, the report also highlights the changes Facebook has made to address some of those concerns.

facebook, instant games
FILE – Attendees walk past a Facebook logo during Facebook Inc’s F8 developers conference in San Jose, California, United States. VOA

“These include making our decisions more transparent by providing more information on why people are seeing specific posts on News Feed; ensuring Page managers can see when enforcement action takes place; launching an appeals process; and creating a new Oversight Board for content,” Clegg said in a statement late Tuesday.

This is the first stage of an ongoing process and Senator Kyl and his team will report again in a few months’ time.

“Facebook’s policies and their application have the potential to restrict free expression. Given the platform’s popularity and ubiquity, this is a danger that must be taken very seriously. Facebook insists that it is committed to safety, equal treatment and building community,” read the report.

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“Facebook has recognized the importance of our assessment and has taken some steps to address the concerns we uncovered. But there is still significant work to be done to satisfy the concerns we heard from conservatives,” it added.

Clegg said that “while we err on the side of free speech, there are critical exceptions”.

“We don’t allow content that might encourage offline harm or is intended to intimidate, exclude or silence people,” he added. (IANS)