Facebook assures cooperation to Pakistan in removing blasphemous posts

ISLAMABAD: Facebook’s Vice President Joel Kaplan today met Pakistan’s Interior Minister Nisar Ali Khan and discussed various measures being taken to remove blasphemous content from the popular social networking site.

Kaplan, who is visiting Pakistan, exchanged views with the interior minister about actions being taken to make the social networking site free of material hurting the religious sentiments of people.

Khan’s office in a statement said that the Facebook vice president reiterated commitment to keep the platform safe and promote values that are in congruence with its community standards.

He also committed to remove fake accounts, explicit, hateful and provocative material that incites violence and terrorism.

In the meeting, Khan said that Pakistan is playing a proactive role in engaging the Internet service providers and finding solution to the issue of misuse of social media.

He said the entire Muslim community is “greatly disturbed and has serious concerns over the misuse of social media platforms to propagate blasphemous content”.

“Nothing is more sacred to us than our religion and our holy personalities,” said the minister.

He said the government of Pakistan firmly believes in freedom of expression but we cannot allow anyone to misuse social media for hurting religious sentiments or undertaking unlawful activities.

He also appreciated the understanding shown by the Facebook administration and the cooperation being extended to on these issues.

The interior minister appreciated Facebook for bridging communication gaps and providing people a platform not only to interact but also serving as a vehicle for promotion of education, businesses, socio-economic development and empowering women in the country.

He also encouraged Facebook to open up office in Pakistan.

Kaplan highlighted various initiatives of the social networking site that are aimed at skill development and economic growth programmes in Pakistan, working with developers, small businesses and women in the country.

He said that Facebook’s Developers Circles, a free community-led programme for developers to connect, learn and collaborated with other local developers, have been started in Lahore and Karachi and would be launched in Islamabad soon.

Lahore is one of the largest Developer Circles in the world with more than 2000 community members.

Kaplan also informed the minister that Facebook has recently launched a digital literacy campaign called iChamp with a goal to touch secondary schools on a mass scale across Pakistan to educate youth on the benefits and safe use of the Internet.

The programme will be supported by Facebook’s Free Basic project that provides free access to dozens of fun and learning websites.

This is for the first time that a senior member of Facebook management dealing with global public policy has visited Pakistan to discuss measures for addressing the issue of misuse of social media platforms especially Facebook which has over 33 million users in the country at the moment.

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