facebookFacebook denies Pakistan’s request of linking all accounts with phone numbers

ISLAMABAD: Facebook has turned down Pakistan’s request to take specific measures for tackling of blasphemous content on the popular social media platform, citing safeguard of consumer rights as a primary reason, reported Voice of America (Urdu).

Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan had requested the Facebook administration to link accounts with phone numbers for users in Pakistan, in order to facilitate a database for tracking objectionable content.

Nisar had put forth the request during a meeting with Facebook Vice President Joel Kaplan last week.

“We can confirm that Pakistani officials requested that we link new Facebook accounts with an internet user’s mobile phone number to address the problem of fake accounts. We declined that request,” said Christine Chen, a spokesperson for the platform.

The spokesperson added that the social media platform is concerned about legal cases against Facebook users currently pending in courts.

Chen further stated in her email that Facebook applies a clear and strict legal process to ‘any government request for data or content restrictions’.

Chen further said the platform would struggle to safeguard its users from unnecessary and excessive government interference.

The spokesperson confirmed that Facebook has not changed its action procedure regarding the government’s request, adding that the company’s officials meet with governments regularly to enlighten them about the platform’s services and operations.

During the meeting with the interior minister, Facebook’s measures concerning small businesses, developers, and digital literacy were also discussed, the report added.

Earlier, Nisar had met Kaplan and discussed various steps and actions to remove blasphemous content from the social media website, a statement from the interior ministry had stated.

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Nisar had said the entire Muslim Ummah was disturbed and had serious concerns over the misuse of social media platforms to propagate blasphemous content.

The statement claimed that Nisar told the top-level representative of Facebook that though the government of Pakistan believes in free speech, however, it will not allow anyone to insult religious sentiments of people.