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Papua New Guinea

Crawling social networks, a reality across the border

BY MATTHEW VARI

WHILE the notion of a filtered internet system controlling all manner of social networking sites seems pretty far fetched for the Papua New Guinean Government, Indonesia has already implemented its system called ‘crawling’ in the age of the hoax news era.

Citizens got a scare here at home when the issue of shutting down Facebook took magnified proportions, with many stating the embarrassment toward an inclusive digital age for APEC and also the obstruction of freedom of expression claimed by many around May and June this year.

Facebook has reshaped the global landscape, and PNG is no exception.

Indonesia on the other has already begun its crackdown on what it terms as hoax content, or simply fake news and other social related issues from pornography, to anti-religious sentiments beginning this year.

Minister of Communication and Information Technology (Indonesia) Mr Rudiantara told journalists early this month during a familiarisation tour of the world’s largest Muslim country.

In a country that governs over 260 million people of various ethnicities, he said managing the social impacts of developments in the ICT sector is not without challenges.

“Social Media is an issue. You are lucky because you have less population but we have to fight the hoax (fake news),” he told visiting journalists.

“For the time being we are addressing this with my ministry having an engine, a primary search engine that every day crawling the fake news sites that are against the laws.

“Almost 100 people managing this digital space, because we have to keep tracking down and blocking content against the legislation.

He said maintained that the system was not a filter but rather a search for key words currently circulating around social mediums.

“It is not a filter actually, but we do crawling. It searches key words and then the news will pop up.
“If the content is pornographic and other cyber bullying we have to address it.

“Sometimes we take the account out. And we need the cooperation from the platform from Facebook, Twitter, or whoever it is.

He said the government has prepared regulations to fine major operators and social network platform owning companies to be accountable for their networks in the South East Asian market.

“As a platform you have to be responsible as well. If you are not doing your job then I will fine you and this regulation is being prepared now and hopefully before the end of the year we are able to issue the necessary processes that will issue the fines.

“If they let this happen in this country Indonesia keep sending fake news and other groups.
“While Indonesia is welcoming foreign investment I don’t want you to treat us as only a market.
“You have to add value to the country as well. If you want to do that be my guest and you can go elsewhere and go.

“We are one of the few countries that have more than 100 million population and we are very bold on that.

“Yes we have human rights issues as well but we apply them. The ones that get their site blocked by us that are against our regulations they may appeal to us,” he said.

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