The Solomon Islands Government has defended its decision to place a temporary ban on Facebook, a move it says is aimed at tackling cyberbullying and online defamation.
The ban, which has not yet come into effect, received an angry response online after it was announced last week.
Communications officials are expected to meet with internet and telecommunications providers in Solomon Islands to discuss how they will block the world’s largest social media network.
Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare told the nation’s Parliament the ban was necessary in order to preserve 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.”
Mr Sogavare said the planned ban mainly targeted young people, but said it was aimed at protecting them from “vile abusive language” and not an attempt at silencing them.
The Government has recently faced criticism over leaked documents on Facebook that showed how COVID-19 funds had been spent.(