THERE are one million Facebook users in Papua New Guinea as of March, accounting for 11.3 per cent of the country’s population, Information and Communications Technology Minister Timothy Masiu says.
“The majority (60 per cent) of the users are men, aged between 18 and 24, the largest user group of 370,000 people,” he said.
Masiu said easy access to the internet and mobile phone technology meant that individuals with untrained minds were flooded with information daily and up to a point where they were struggling to find trustworthy sources and reliable guidance.
“In a bid to manage misinformation, disinformation and malinformation, the Government has stepped up its efforts,” he added.
Masiu said the department now hosts a social media management desk on behalf of the Government to:
- ESTABLISH a clearance process, a standards and registry process and ensure compliance for all official Government operated social media pages;
- REPORT and take down fake social media pages, promoting Government agencies and Members of Parliament;
- FACILITATE steps necessary to take down social media pages and groups purporting to report and inform on official news;
- MAINTAIN co-administrator roles on all official Government social media pages; and,
- LIAISE directly with the appointed contact person with all the various social media companies.
“As thousands of users in the country try to hold the Government to account, it is vital that proper channels of information sharing on social media are established to ensure that accurate and updated information are disseminated by the Government to Facebook users and the public to educate and inform people on key development initiatives,” Masiu said.
“The Government may look at policy and regulations down the line to ensure that the Government is able to regulate social media platforms and social media companies out of safeguarding Constitutional purposes, such as national interest and national security.”