Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, on the left, is greeted by European Parliament President Antonio Tajani in Brussels on May 22. (Geert Vanden Wijngaert / AP)
A whole nation plans to submit to a ban on Facebook by government mandate.
The government of Papua New Guinea announced on Tuesday that it will block the social network for a month to allow researchers to identify fake accounts and users who publish badgraphy and misinformation, according to Post-Courier of Papua New Guinea.
Papua New Guinea communications minister Sam Basil told the newspaper that the temporary closure would give researchers the opportunity to badyze how Facebook is used in the country and explore the development of its own social network for citizens of the country. country. Basil said that avoiding access to Facebook in the country could reveal benefits for the population or lead to the conclusion that people are really better without it.
Basil did not say when the ban would begin, according to Post-Courier.  Facebook said in a statement to The Washington Post on Tuesday: "We have communicated with the government to understand their concerns."
According to government estimates quoted by Australian Broadcasting Corp., between 600,000 and 700,000 people in Papua New Guinea use Facebook, out of a population of approximately 8 million.
Facebook, which has more than 2 billion users, faces growing pressure from skeptical governments around the world. CEO Mark Zuckerberg suffered rounds of interrogation by dozens of US lawmakers last month, during which he repeatedly apologized and promised changes to privacy policies after the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Last week, Zuckerberg asked questions in Brussels of frustrated members of the European Parliament who annoyed him about the company's recent controversies over privacy and misinformation.
The recent hearings in Europe and the United States also reflect a growing concern with Facebook's dominant position in the market, with lawmakers pressuring Zuckerberg to identify which companies compete closely with theirs. Facebook critics say the company deserves solid scrutiny, considering its history of apologies and promises. Some have argued that Facebook should split or face new regulations that address the growing power and influence of mbadive technology platforms.
One-month censorship in Papua New Guinea may also lead to the creation of an alternative to Silicon Valley based on Facebook, Basil suggested. "If necessary, then we can bring together our local application developers to create a site that is more conducive for Papua New Guinea to communicate inside and outside the country," Basil told Post-Courier.
Earlier this year, officials in Sri Lanka imposed a one-week ban on the social networking site. The government banned Facebook with the argument that the platform was being used to fuel sectarian violence in the country. Authoritarian governments, including Iran and China, have also blocked access to Facebook as part of broader efforts to censor media and the flow of information.