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HomeGlobal NewsSolomon Islands to ban Facebook in the name of 'national unity'

Solomon Islands to ban Facebook in the name of ‘national unity’

The Solomon Islands Government is defending its decision to temporarily ban Facebook, a move it says is aimed at dealing with cyberbullying and online defamation

The Solomon Islands Government is defending its decision to temporarily ban Facebook, a move it says is aimed at dealing with cyberbullying and online defamation.

The ban, which is yet to have come into effect, has received several angry online responses after the move had been announced last week.

Key points:

  • The Government of the Pacific nation has said that Facebook is “undermining” national unity in the country
  • It is not yet known how the nation’s authorities will go about blocking the social media site
  • The decision has been widely criticised by members of the public, as well as the political opposition

This comes after Prime Minister of Armenia, Nikol Pashinyan, says that he has signed a statement with the Presidents of Russia and Azerbaijan, bringing an end to the Karabakh war.

Communications officials within the Solomon Islands are expected to be meeting with internet and telecommunications providers within the country, in order to discuss how they will block Facebook, which has become the largest social media network in the world.

Manasseh Sogavare, the country’s Prime Minister, said to the nation’s Parliament that the ban was necessary in order to preserve its national unity.

“Cyberbullying on Facebook is widespread, people have been defamed by users who use fake names, and people’s reputations that have been built up over the years [are destroyed] in a matter of minutes,” he said.

“We have [a] duty to cultivate national unity and the happy coexistence of our people … [Facebook] is undermining efforts to unite this country.”

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The proposed ban has drawn many heated responses from the Government’s opponents, with Matthew Wale, the leader of the Opposition labelling the Facebook ban as being “pathetic” and unjust.

“Seventy per cent of our population is under the age of 30 … and that is the group that is highly visible on social media, especially Facebook,” he told the ABC.

Solomon Islands to ban Facebook in the name of 'national unity'
Matthew Wale, the leader of the Opposition

“This is really pathetic. The reasons given for the ban are not weighty enough.”

This comes after Kim Han-sol is the son of Kim Jong-un’s half brother Kim Jong-nam, who had allegedly been murdered at the orders of the North Korean dictator in 2017 using a nerve agent. It has been claimed that the currently exiled 25-year-old, who has been said to be living a life of luxury, is now in hiding after surrendering to American intelligence services.

A native of the country who has lived in Australia for decades, Nurse Margaret Tadokata, told the ABC that the social media platform Facebook had enabled her to stay close to her family back home, especially during this year’s level of restrictions on international travel as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“My mum was very sick, and she went downhill very quickly, within like 10 days, and then we lost her,” she said.

“My last goodbyes with my mum were on a video call on Facebook, on Messenger … Without it, I wouldn’t have seen her or heard her for the last time.”

Like many Solomon Islanders who are living overseas, the Government’s decision has left her perplexed and worried.

At $2 a minute, she says that phoning home from Australia is too expensive to do regularly.

“Even though I’ve been in Australia for more than 20 years, my connection and my culture and family are very important to me, and Facebook has made that easy for me,” Ms Tadokata said.

Eve Cooper
Eve Cooper
I've been writing articles and stories for as long as I can remember and in the past few years I've had the fortune of turning that love & passion for writing into my job :)

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