Solomons Cabinet approves Facebook ban

Cabinet has agreed to ban the world’s biggest social networking site, Facebook, in Solomon Islands.

A submission for the ban was said to be brought to Cabinet by the Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare and Communication and Civil Aviation Minister Peter Shanel Agovaka.

Agovaka told Solomon Times Online (STO) that this temporary ban was made because of the controversial issues raised via Facebook.

“Abusive languages against Ministers, Prime Minister, character assassination, defamation of character, all these are issues of concerns”, Agovaka said.

He said there were concerns that there are also no laws or regulations on Facebook thus the need for such a temporary ban.

“The use of the internet now in Solomon Islands needs to be properly regulated to safeguard our young people from harmful content. At the moment there is no legislation to govern the use of the internet and even young kids can be able to download harmful stuff from the internet”, Agovaka said.

He says this is in addition to the controversial issues raised via Facebook.

However he says the media should not have any cause for concern as there will still be freedom of the press.

He says media organisations will continue to operate as normal except for the closure of Facebook.

Most media organisations are now utilizing Facebook as a means to also disseminate information to the public. The office of the Prime Minister also does a live video stream of his national address via Facebook to reach a wider audience.

“The government is still in discussion with the operators to work out how this can be done. The operators shall need to establish a firewall to block Facebook, ” Agovaka said.

It is anticipated that a ban on Facebook will greatly affect much needed revenue for the operators.

As of October 2020, NapoleonCat, a social media management tool, said there are 120,000 Facebook users in Solomon Islands. People aged 18 to 24 were said to be the largest user group.


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