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Monday Dec 03 2018

Pakistan seeks Facebook's cooperation to counter hate speech, boost e-commerce

Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry, in a meeting with Facebook's vice president of public policy, emphasises need for formal collaboration to explore avenues of cooperation. — APP

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry on Monday sought Facebook cooperation to counter hate speech and boost e-commerce in Pakistan.

Chaudhry, in a meeting with Facebook's vice president of public policy Simon Milner, emphasised the need for formal collaboration to explore avenues of cooperation with Facebook to promote commerce and business activities in Pakistan.

He said it was encouraging to find out that the two sides share common grounds to deal with hate speech and related content that leads to violence in the society.

“We believe in the freedom of expression and free speech,” the minister said.

“Our only concern is to defy hate speech and blasphemous content that incites violence,” he said, while explaining his government's approach on social media.

Milner underlined the need for coordination between the government and Facebook, to encourage expression and create a safe environment as Facebook is a global platform that gives the opportunity to connect and share to more than two billion people globally.

“We have clear rules against hate speech and content that has the potential to incite violence, and share the same commitment to remove such content in Pakistan, and globally,” Milner said.

Chaudhry proposed Facebook to have an official operational unit in Pakistan. “We will facilitate the office entity with the best available protocols,” he added.

Milner expressed Facebook’s commitment to helping its community, including small businesses and developers, in Pakistan connect, share and grow.

Earlier this year, Facebook committed to train 20,000 women entrepreneurs across 150 women empowerment centers in Pakistan, in collaboration with the Universal Service Fund Company, and its developer circles have a thriving community of 7,800 developer community members across Islamabad, Lahore, Sahiwal, Gujrat and Faisalabad, he informed.

Federal Minister for Information Technology Khalid Maqbool Siddique was also present at the meeting, which had secretaries information and broadcasting, and information technology, PTA chairman, PID Islamabad's principal information officer, a representative from the ISPR, and other senior officials.