Previously Pakistan had made a request to the social networking platform Facebook to link new accounts of its users to its main servers to users’ mobile phone numbers. This request was made in order to deal with the issue of fake accounts that are responsible for spreading hate material online.
Last week, the social network met with the local authorities for discussing the spread of blasphemous material on Facebook. This was arranged after a man was sentenced to death in Pakistan for allegedly posting the hate material online. According to the prosecutor, this is the first time that a penalty has been rewarded in the case of social media. Earlier, social media was threatened to be blocked in the country by the Interior Minister Chaudhary Nisar for refusing to cooperate with the anti-blasphemy crackdown. Facebook’s public policy chief Joel Kaplan was recently met by the Interior Minister for discussing the matter.
For the same reason, the social networking site Twitter was blocked in 2012 after hate material was posted online. For now, in order to authenticate new accounts, Facebook will be using email addresses rather than users’ phone numbers. But now, the government wants the popular platform to look into these matters on a priority basis.
According to the platform’s spokesman, Facebook met with Pakistani officials to express the company’s intense commitment to protecting the rights of its customers and also to enable people to express themselves safely and freely. The meeting was constructive and raised concerns over the recent court rulings. The company made it clear to apply a strict legal process for government request for data or content restrictions.