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Solomon Islands Set To Ban Facebook

The Solomon Islands Government has defended its choice to place a temporary restriction on Facebook; a move it says is aimed at tackling cyberbullying and online defamation.

 

Communications officials have been charged to meet with internet and telecommunications providers in Solomon Islands; primary reason being to ruminate how they will block the world’s largest social media network.

 

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare told the nation’s Parliament today, 23rd November 2020, that the restriction was necessary. He wants to preserve national unity. “Cyberbullying on Facebook is widespread, people have been defamed by users who use fake names, and people’s reputations that have been built up over the years [are destroyed] in a matter of minutes,” he said.

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Mr Sogavare said the planned restriction was mostly aimed at young people; but also said it was aimed at protecting them from ‘vile abusive language’ and not an attempt at silencing them.

 

The exact technical details of how the ban would work — whether it would involve the use of a firewall, for example — are still being ironed out. It has drawn a heated response from the Government’s opponents, with Opposition leader Matthew Wale labelling the ban pathetic and unjust.

 

“Seventy per cent of our population is under the age of 30. And that is the group that is likewise highly visible on social media; especially Facebook,” he told the ABC, “this is really pathetic. The reasons given for the ban are not weighty enough.”

 

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