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Pakistan asks Facebook and Twitter to investigate “blasphemous content”

Friday, March 17, 2017 7:49
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Pakistan has asked social media giants Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) and Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) to help identify Pakistani users suspected of blasphemy so it can prosecute them.

Blasphemy is a highly sensitive topic in the country, and under the country’s strict laws, anyone found to have insulted Islam or the prophet Muhammad can be sentenced to death.

Earlier this week, Pakaistani Prmie Minister Nawaz Sharif took to social media to voice his support for a crackdown, describing blasphemy as an “unpardonable offence”.

Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar also said this week that the country would take “any steps necessary” to find and prosecute those suspected of committing the crime.

He’s reported to have asked officials to liaise with the FBI and with the two social media companies on a daily basis.

According to several reports, Facebook has agreed to send a team to Pakistan to run through the administration’s concerns with content on its site.

It’s a tricky balance for Facebook and Twitter to straddle given that, although they take government requests seriously, they have an ultimate “goal of protecting the privacy and rights of our users”.

Should either company pass on details of those suspected of blasphemy, they could well be seen to putting that goal in jeopardy.

Shares in Facebook were unchanged at US$140, while Twitter fell US$0.12 to US$15.04.

Story by ProactiveInvestors


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