Papua New Guinea Delivers Facebook Smackdown

For any company, it’s seldom a good sign when an entire country bans your business.

Albeit on a temporary basis, that’s the suck sandwich Papua New Guinea just served to Facebook. Economically and politically, the Independent State of Papua New Guinea is not quite a major force. (With around 8 million citizens, the country has a population comparable to that of Long Island.)

But its modest stature did not stop every news outlet from New York to Papua New Guinea from picking up the story on Monday.

In part, that’s because much of the world now shares many of the concerns expressed by Sam Basil, Papua New Guinea’s Communication Minister.

With the one-month ban, the plan is to “identify users that hide behind fake accounts, users that upload pornographic images [and] users that post false and misleading information on Facebook,” Basil tells the Papua New Guinea Post Courier.

Some of those same concerns recently prompted U.S. lawmakers to subject& lt; /a> Facebook head Mark Zuckerberg to two days of tough (but ultimately toothless) questioning.

It’s those same concerns that inspired European regulations to enact a comprehensive data law known as the General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR.

And, it’s those concerns that just moved& amp; nbsp;a coalition of left-leaning organizations to begin lobbying the U.S. government to break up Facebook. 

Again, while Papua New Guinea might not have the economic and political clout of those groups and institutions, its strength lies in the boldness of its action. With that strength in hand, its next moves could have significant implications for Facebook.

The world is now waiting to see what insights the investigation yields.

According to Basil, one possible outcome of the experiment could be to create a government-run social network solely for the Papuan people. 

Such an extreme measure is unlikely to receive much support in the United States, but its mention doesn’t bode well for Facebook’s international fortunes.

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