Governor for East Sepik Province Allan Bird wanted to know why the Communications Minister has Facebook high on his priority rather than fighting corruption.
Allan Bird’s questions ranged from the involvement of National Research Institute to conduct research into the use of social media, the curiosity of government’s focus on Facebook instead of other pressing issues and the image it will portray to other APEC countries on freedom of speech and media.
In response, Minister Basil denied newspaper reports that had given a time frame for Facebook to be shutdown.
The Minister also later, after question time explained that he has directed NICTA’s ICT to research and then advise him on how to protect the privacy of many Facebook users in country.
He said he gave the direction in April 2018 in the wake of the United States and the class action court hearings to ascertain whether Facebook failed to protect the privacy of Facebook users in US and the UK.
Basil said PNG users have their private information on the same database as well, thus as a responsible Government, they must consider carefully the exposure of these Facebook users, as well as the benefits of Facebook as a social platform for communication along with the dangers it poses as well.
He said as the minister responsible he needs to make informed and appropriate action on behalf of PNG citizens using Facebook and other social networks.
The brief provided to him will form the basis of an NEC submission which will be tabled for a decision.
The Minister added that only then will there be an official position of the Government through him as the minister responsible.