The Government of the Solomon Islands has decided to ban the use of Facebook in the country, providing as an excuse the repeated cases of cyberbullying and online defamation suffered by many citizens by users who use false identities within this social network.
The Government of the Solomon Islands considers that the social network lacks laws and regulations that prohibit cyberbullying
Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has assured the nation’s Parliament that the prohibition measure is necessary to “preserve national unity”, since, according to him, the platform lacks laws and regulations that prohibit abusive language, incitement to hatred, instigation to murder and defamation, which is not true.
The proposal, which has the support of the country’s Minister of Communication and Civil Aviation, Peter Shanel Agovaka, has been approved and, according to government sources, will be temporary. However, it is not yet known when it will come into force or how the control will be carried out. Facebook, for its part, has contacted the government to clarify the situation.
Be that as it may, it is feared that cyberbullying is not the real reason for which you want to control access to Facebook. In the capital of the country, Honiara, social unrest took place within days of Sogavare coming to power in 2019, so avoiding this type of uprisings, in which social networks play a fundamental role, could be behind the measure. . It is something similar to what happened in other countries such as Iran or Sri Lanka during popular revolts.
Along the same lines, the leader of the opposition and president of the foreign relations committee, Peter Kenilorea Jr., has pointed out that the measure represents “an assault on freedom of expression.” Furthermore, according to the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the ban on Facebook in the Solomon Islands not only directly restricts public access to information, but also impedes freedom of the press.
Facebook has around 120,000 users in the Solomon Islands. Many media in the small country use this social network and the government itself used it until now to launch public health statements during the Covid-19 pandemic.