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One Country Is Banning Facebook for a Month

Papua New Guinea takes a stand against the social-media site
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted May 29, 2018 12:00 PM CDT
A view of Port Morseby in Papua New Guinea.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Residents of Papua New Guinea may have to forget about using Facebook for a while, the Guardian reports. The country's communication minister, Sam Basil, says his government plans to shutter the social media site for a month to cull out "fake users" and see how Facebook is affecting people's lives. "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," he tells the Post-Courier. Basil has also expressed concern about the Cambridge Analytica scandal and unfettered advertising on Facebook.

What will happen to Facebook fakers isn't clear, but Basil says he plans to "work closely with the police" and enforce a cyber-crime act passed in 2016. He also says Papua New Guinea could hire local tech developers to create a home-grown social-networking alternative. Considering the history of other countries banning Facebook—think North Korea, China, and Iran, notes Gizmodo—at least one analyst is raising an eyebrow at Papua New Guinea's plan. "I am not exactly sure what they think they can achieve, and why a ban is necessary," says Aim Sinpeng, a digital-media and politics expert in Australia. "You can do Facebook analysis without it. And what data are the government collecting?" (Read more Papua New Guinea stories.)

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