The government of Papua New Guinea says that a one month ban of the social media platform is necessary to help it refine its data security strategy

The South Pacific island nation of Papua New Guinea has taken the unprecedented step of banning Facebook for one month, to allow its government to review its data security measures. 

The country’s communications minister, Sam Basil, said that the move would allow the PNG government to crack down on "fake news" while simultaneously analysing how users in the country interact with the social media platform.  

"The time will allow information to be collected to identify users that hide behind fake accounts, users that upload pornographic images, users that post false and misleading information on Facebook to be filtered and removed.

“This will allow genuine people with real identities to use the social network responsibly,” Basil said.

Papua New Guinea launched nationwide data protection legislation in 2016, under the Cyber Crime Act. However, Basil said that the ban was necessary to help the country to review its data protection laws going forward.   

“The Act has already been passed, so what I’m trying to do is to ensure the law is enforced accordingly where perpetrators can be identified and charged accordingly. We cannot allow the abuse of Facebook to continue in the country.

Facebook has been engulfed in a swathe of allegations over data security that have dogged the company since it was hit by the Cambridge Analytica scandal earlier this year. Facebook’s shares initially plunged by 5 per cent but have rallied in recent weeks to settle back to pre-Cambridge Analytica prices.