Facebook on Saturday has rejected Pakistan’s request to link all its users with phone numbers, American news channel said in a report on Saturday.
The request was made earlier this week by Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan in a meeting with Facebook Vice President (VP) Joel Kaplan which the social media giant has declined to comply, the Voice of America (VOA) reported.
In an email to VOA, Facebook has confirmed that it has decided not to accede to the Pakistan’s request while asserting protection of its customers’ rights. It announced its policy would remain unchanged for the new accounts.
The request was made to restrain illegal means of Facebook usage and particularly to trace users posting blasphemous content.
Following the meeting, Nisar had said: “The government believes in freedom of expression. However, the entire Muslim Ummah has serious concerns over misuse of social media platforms to propagate blasphemous content.”
The minister said all the security agencies and the National Counter Terrorism Authority were also working in coordination and trying to develop a mechanism to check the activities of the proscribed outfits and objectionable content on social media.
Regarding the important and constructive meeting with the interior minister, the Facebook official stated in the email that the VP discussed Facebook’s concerns regarding recent court decisions and clarified that the group follows a strictly legal process against the government’s request for ban on any type of material.
Since, February 2017, 137 blasphemous links have been blocked by the Facebook administration for viewership in Pakistan.
Facebook was also asked to help Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) in the country by providing them with data that they asked for.
Facebook, in response, said that it received around 1,000 requests in 2016 from Pakistan and about 70 per cent of them had been complied with. The Facebook administration reiterated that it will continue to support such requests.