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Facebook will be banned in Papua New Guinea for a month

Papua New Guinea’s communications minister has suggested the country create its own version of Facebook.

James Martin/CNET

Citizens of Papua New Guinea are about to get a month-long digital detox from Facebook — whether they like it or not. Papua New Guinea’s communications minister, Sam Basil, told the country’s Post-Courier on Tuesday that Facebook would be banned in there for four weeks, providing an opportunity to identify fake profiles and work out how to prevent the spread of pornography on the platform. “The time will allow information to be collected to identify users that hide behind fake accounts, users that upload pornographic images, users that post false and misleading information on Facebook to be filtered and removed,” said Basil.

The work will form part of the enforcement of the country’s Cyber Crime Act, passed in 2016. Basil also suggested the country look to build its own social network for citizens to use instead of Facebook.

Facebook is fighting a battle against the spread of fake news, including the use of false profiles to boost and share misinformation. “We have reached out to the Papua New Guinea government to understand their concerns,” said a Facebook spokeswoman in a statement.

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