Twitter, the social media app that has gained popularity in Pakistan in recent times, is threatened to get banned in the country. Twitter is not following the notions of Pakistani government of what is suitable for public and what is objectionable content, thus the government is considering banning Twitter in Pakistan.
Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) told the Senate Standing Committee on Cabinet Secretariat that while Facebook, WhatsApp, YouTube and other social media platforms followed Pakistani government’s request to block offensive content, Twitter has not done that.
Director General of PTA’s Internet Policy and Web Analysis, Nisar Ahmed said, “Out of a hundred requests from Pakistan to block certain offensive material, roughly five percent are entertained. Twitter ignores all the remaining requests.”
The meeting was held regarding the penalties fixed by PTA against the ‘derogatory’ comments spreading through social media targeting the state, its citizens and its institutions’.
Nisar Ahmed further informed the committee that Islamabad High Court issued a directive to PTA to give Twitter a final notice. It was made clear to Twitter that it needs to respond to requests from Pakistan or otherwise get blocked.
Mr. Ahmed said, “The PTA has conveyed the court’s concern to Twitter, but has not got a response. The regulatory authority will implement court orders if Twitter does not respond to the final notice.”
Furthermore, Mr. Ahmed told the committee that unlike Facebook, Twitter is still not that popular, thus there is little to lose if it is blocked. But the business of Twitter will be affected if it is banned.
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He said, “The court is determined to teach Twitter a lesson — they will lose business.”
He also informed the committee that unlike Twitter, Facebook has cooperated with the Pakistani government.
The official informed, “In fact, Facebook has appointed a focal person to address the concerns from Pakistan. The focal person is a Pakistani national who understands the traditions, customs, and concerns of our society. YouTube is now also offering a local version in the country and removing offensive material, and the website is no longer an issue.”
Mr. Ahmed concluded, “These companies do not only wish to keep growing in Pakistan but have also planned to bring underdeveloped cities and towns out of — through training programmes — their current states to put them on a par with developed areas.”