Thursday May 23, 2019
Home Lead Story Sri Lanka Rev...

Sri Lanka Revokes Ban on Social Media

However, he warned that “who ever shares misinformation has to take responsibility for whatever they share”

0
//
gas
Image source: youtube.com

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena on Tuesday revoked the government’s ban on social media use that was imposed throughout the island nation after the April 21 Easter Sunday bombings that killed 253 people.

A statement from the government’s information department said that Sirisena had ordered to lift the temporary ban, which had been applied in the immediate aftermath of the attacks, reports Efe news.

In the brief statement, the head of the department, Nalaka Kaluwewa, said the government was appealing social media users to “be responsible in their usage of social media sites even though the ban has been lifted”.

“The decision to ban social media was taken immediately after the attacks. Now after analysing (the situation), the government is of the view that it can be lifted,” Kaluwewa told Efe.

face veils
Security officers patrol outside a luxury hotel, days after a string of suicide bomb attacks across the island on Easter Sunday, in Colombo, Sri Lanka, April 27, 2019. VOA

“Further, we have to look at returning to normalcy and this decision (to revoke the ban) was connected to that as well.”

However, he warned that “who ever shares misinformation has to take responsibility for whatever they share”.

Also Read- Tech Giant Apple Loses its 5G Modem Project Lead

“Under the emergency regulations which are in force, the spreading of misinformation can be addressed and action can be taken against those who share such matter,” Kaluwewa added.

Immediately after the bombings, authorities declared a state of emergency on the island and blocked social media services and messaging apps such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Viber and Snapchat, arguing that such platforms were being used to spread misinformation and rumors across cyberspace to trigger violence. (IANS)

Next Story

Vaccine Doubts Spread Across Social Media Like Disease, Should be Taken Down: Vaccine Chief

"We have to think about it as a disease. This is a disease," Berkley said. "This spreads at the speed of light, literally"

0
FILE - A vial of the measles, mumps, and rubella virus (MMR) vaccine is pictured at the International Community Health Services clinic in Seattle, Washington, U.S. VOA

Doubts about vaccines have spread across social media like a disease and false information that “kills people” should be taken down by the companies running digital platforms, the head of global vaccine alliance Gavi said on Tuesday.

Speaking at a U.S.-sponsored event on the sidelines of the World Health Organization’s annual assembly in Geneva, Gavi CEO Seth Berkley said there was a strong scientific consensus about the safety of vaccines.

But social media algorithms favored sensational content over scientific facts, rapidly convincing people who had never seen family members die from preventable illness.

“We have to think about it as a disease. This is a disease,” Berkley said. “This spreads at the speed of light, literally.”

vaccine
“A study says @Autism is out of control — a 78% increase in 10 years. Stop giving monstrous combined vaccinations,” Trump tweeted in 2012. Pixabay

WHO says poor vaccination coverage is causing measles outbreaks globally, with numbers spiking in countries that were previously almost free of the disease, including the United States.

Misinformation about vaccines, which the WHO says save two million lives annually, was not a freedom of speech issue and social media firms need to take it offline, Berkley said. “I remind people that this kills people,” he said.

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said complacency, misunderstanding and misinformation were causing vaccination rates to decline globally, with tragic results.

“In my country, social media conspiracy groups confuse well-meaning parents so they hesitate to get the recommended vaccinations,” Azar said.

He rejected any criticism of U.S. President Donald Trump, who repeatedly and erroneously tweeted about links between vaccines and autism in the years before he became president.

“A study says @Autism is out of control — a 78% increase in 10 years. Stop giving monstrous combined vaccinations,” Trump tweeted in 2012.

vaccine
Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam said health authorities needed to “up our game,” adding that she was working with Twitter, Facebook, Google and other tech companies. Pixabay

Azar said Trump was “extremely firm” in support of vaccination.

“If you had been paying attention in the last month, you would know that the President of the United States, President Trump, was very clear and emphatic: get your shots, get your kids vaccinated, vaccines are safe,” Azar said.

ALSO READ: WHO to Strengthen Strategies to Combat Ebola Epidemic in Congo

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam said health authorities needed to “up our game,” adding that she was working with Twitter, Facebook, Google and other tech companies.

“You’ve got to get into the trenches … and begin to get engaged much more on a personal and emotional level, because people don’t understand statistics and data. If you do that. (VOA)