Country Plans to Ban Facebook for a Month

John Lister's picture

Papua New Guinea is set to ban Facebook for a month. Unlike with bans in more authoritarian countries, it's designed to research cyber crime laws rather than stifle debate - or so the official explanation goes.

However, the country's government have warned it might need to create a "more conducive" site that meets local laws. The government says its necessary to block access to the site while it investigates if and how Facebook helps users breach the Cyber Crime Act passed in 2016.

The act was an attempt to update numerous laws to cover activity that was often already illegal in the "real world" but where the laws didn't have the scope to cover online behavior. Among the covered topics were defamation, forgery, fraud, hacking, spam and security.

Fake Accounts To Be Targeted

According to the country's communication minister, the temporary block will allow the government to investigate "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." (Source:

It's not just a case of putting Facebook on hold for a month to make the collection and analysis of the data easier. The minister also says it will make it possible to measure whether the absence of the site has a positive impact on the population.

Government-Backed Site Could Be Replacement

While the ban is supposedly only a temporary measure, the minister noted it's possible the investigation might conclude that Facebook's current setup and moderation system is simply incompatible with the law.

He heavily implied that Facebook could be replaced altogether, stating that "If there need be then we can gather our local applications developers to create a site that is more conducive for Papua New Guineans to communicate within the country and abroad as well."

Facebook isn't saying much about the proposal, but issued a statement saying "We have reached out to the Papua New Guinea government to understand their concerns." (Source:

What's Your Opinion?

Do you believe the argument that completely blocking Facebook for a month is necessary for the investigation? What's a reasonable expectation for how far Facebook should go to make sure its users comply with local laws? Should the suggestion of a government-developed social network be seen as a threat?

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Dennis Faas's picture

There are multiple, MAJOR issues here. One is that I don't see how they can "scan" Facebook for all Papua New Guinea accounts. If I was engaged in criminal activity I sure as heck would be using a VPN to hide my location. Another major issue is the "free speech" argument and whether or not it is "legal" for the country to block access to the site. Lastly, there is no way developers can possibly take on Facebook's platform and expect Papua New Guinea users to continue using it as a Facebook replacement. That would be a massive waste of money and resources and will undoubtedly fail.

davolente_10330's picture

As far as I'm concerned, Facebook and pretty much ALL so-called social media should be universally banned. People are gradually being turned into Zombies by these entities. The dross, trivia and downright rubbish appearing on such sites (oh....Twitter also comes to mind) is quite mind-blowing and obviously comes from the brain-dead. As an example, I thought taking pictures of restaurant meals and posting them was something of an urban legend, but, sure enough, there I was, attempting to have a quiet meal out recently and the table next to me sported a gaggle of girls, who were (noisily, I might add) doing just that! PREPOSTEROUS, if I might bring in some Trump-type grammar.

bow's picture

Facebook began as a platform for college students and was consigned to their use only. It expanded to what it currently is now.

I have to ask, is eliminating Facebook totally going to cause the world to experience a catastrophic collapse? I don't think so. In fact, getting rid of Facebook altogether may do us all a favor. There are good things that are involved in the platform but a heck of a lot of seriously bad things that we can not dismiss nor do we seemed able to eradicate.

I for one can and do live a full life experience without Facebook. We should all give it a try and see. There is life without Facebook...and a lot of it!

This is my opinion. We all have one and are entitled to it without belittlement. Please consider that in your responses. Much appreciated. Blessings.

bow's picture

My original comment did not mention banning anything or anyone from viewing or saying anything. I don't support suppression of anyone as long as they are not harming or infringing on the rights or desires of another. My comment was my personal opinion that Facebook was something we as a world community could probably live on without our existence being adversely affected.

When we begin the talk of banning others who don't have the same opinion as we do are we not doing the very thing we are so adamantly against?

Tolerance and respect for our differences. No banning anyone even those who don't get it that banning is a form of suppression also.

kitekrazy's picture

Keep in mind only the USA still has a resemblance of free speech. I know some hate Facebook but they are missing a serious issue here. Be fearful this doesn't happen in the USA.

guitardogg's picture

TO those want to ban Facebook, etc... Other than a reasonable attempt to protect minors, the internet should be free and uncensored! Don't ban anything! If you don't like Facebook, stay the hell off Facebook. You don't like something, don't go there!! Pretty simple. Are you going to ban TV too? Cause if mindless drivel bothers you, it abounds on TV. Papua New Guinea will fail miserably in this en devour, people always find a way!