Papua New Guinea will prohibit all access to Facebook for a month within its borders. The start date has yet to be determined, but this move is necessary, the government says, for research and digital security.
"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," said Communication Minister Sam Basil. "This will allow genuine people with real identities to use the social network responsibly."
Also on the table is the creation of a new, PNG-specific social network so Facebook access need never be restored. "We can also look at the possibility of creating a new social network site for PNG citizens to use with genuine profiles as well," Basil said. "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."
Digital media experts say it is unclear what the government can really accomplish in a month, and that a ban is unnecessary for the sort of data the government says it was to collect. However, internet access remains limited in PNG, so objections to this apparent move toward censorship may be few.