Social media back by Friday FB team here on Thursday: Harin

Published : 9:12 am  March 14, 2018 | No comments so far |  |  (85) reads | 

Untitled-4By Darshana Sanjeewa   

Social media platforms, including Facebook, which were blocked last week, would be accessible by Friday morning, Telecommunication and Digital Infrastructure Minister Harin Fernando said yesterday.   

 

He said President Maithripala Sirisena had instructed to lift the ban on social media.   


The minister said officials from Facebook Inc. would arrive in Sri Lanka on Thursday to meet Government officials to discuss the situation.   


“We have briefed the Facebook officials in writing and would discuss the matter once they arrive on Thursday on the possibility of filtering social media” he said.   

 

  • Social media platforms including Facebook, WhatsApp, Viber and IMO had been blocked since last week to prevent the spread of fake news or rumours
  • President Maithripala Sirisena had instructed to lift the ban on social media


Social media platforms including Facebook, WhatsApp, Viber and IMO had been blocked since last week to prevent the spread of fake news or rumours which are likely to spread a fear psychosis among the people or posed a threat to communal harmony.   


Meanwhile, National Policies and Economic Affairs State Minister Dr. Harsha De Silva said discussions were held on Sunday with Presidential Secretary Austin Fernando who is also the Chairman of the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) on this matter. At the meeting, the state minister had explained at length the negative impact on the economy from the social media ban.   

 


Govt. to set up new institution on social media

MB_4-1By Yohan Perera   

The government is discussing setting up an institution to monitor social media usage, Minister of Digital Infrastructure Technology Harin Fernando said yesterday.   


Govt. to set up new institution to monitor social media: Harin


He said this measure would be aimed at preventing posts which provoke hate against any community or religion.   


“The government will not block social media such as Facebook but there will be strict monitoring, which will be aimed at preventing postings which provoke hate among communities and religions. This monitoring may result in barding those who upload hate speech on social media,” the Minister said.   


The institute would also monitor those posting and watching child pornography and other pornography.   


 “ I am not for censoring but unwanted postings which provoke ethnic and religious hatred should be avoided as it could bring disaster to the country. “We have been witnessing postings which provoke people and even video clips which were false. Some have even uploaded false video saying such and such an establishment was attacked. Both Sinhalese and Muslims were engaged in such provocations over social media during the past few days,” the Minister said.   


He added that the government had wanted Facebook to remove pages of those who provoke hatred sometime back before the trouble in Kandy. However, he said it was not possible as Facebook did not have sufficient human resources to do so. “Facebook actually did not have those who could be conversant in Sinhalese to identify and remove the Sinhala content which promoted hatred. Status of Sinhalese in the globe had played a role in this shortcoming as it is not a language which is spoken universally,” he said in this regard.   


Mr. Fernando who defended the restriction of Facebook said one must remember that several countries such as Bangladesh, Vietnam, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Iran and Syria have blocked Facebook from time to time. “The country would have experienced a worst disaster than July 1983 racial riots if the government did not block social media. There was no other alternative as hate speech over social media became uncontrollable,” he said. However, the Minister revealed that around 800,000 people have managed to log into Facebook through virtual private networks despite measures taken to block it.