Solomon Islands prepares to ban Facebook after government criticism on platform

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The Solomon Islands is likely to ban the use of Facebook for an indeterminate period after inflammatory critique of the authorities was aired on the social media stage, the Solomon Times reported.

The government, headed by Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, told journalists at our partner news agency Reuters it would issue a formal announcement on its decision later on Tuesday.

If the ban goes ahead, the Solomons would join just a few nations around the world, including China, Iran and North Korea, to actively limit the world’s biggest social networking platform.

A Facebook Inc spokeswoman said the business was contacting the Solomons government to go over the issue.

The government has been heavily criticised on social media over the supply of economic stimulus funds amid the coronavirus pandemic as well as the effect of this Pacific state’s decision to switch diplomatic ties from Taiwan to China.

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Solomon’s Minister of Communication, Peter Shanel Agovaka, is among the primary supporters of the ban, according to the Solomon Times, also has blamed” abusive language” and “character assassination” of government ministers, including the prime minister, being carried on the stage for its decision.

Facebook is a hugely popular forum for debate in the Solomons with its population of around 650,000 spread out over a sprawling archipelago. The government also uses Facebook to broadcast speeches by the prime minister and also to disseminate health information throughout the pandemic.

Opposition leader Matthew Wale told journalists he would oppose the move.

“Politicians are always worried about people having access to information and being able to freely express their views – that really cannot be grounds for proposing a ban,” Wale told Reuters on the phone.

The team at Platform Executive hope you have enjoyed this news article. Initial reporting via our official content partners at Thomson Reuters. Reporting by Jonathan Barrett. Editing by Edwina Gibbs.

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