Caretaker Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr Sailele Malielegaoi has confirmed a Cabinet decision to not shutdown Facebook in the lead up to a possible fresh elections next week.
During his weekly programme with Toalepai Rula Vaai of TV3 and Radio Polynesia, Tuilaepa said Cabinet had considered all sides of the issue and weighed up the pros and cons including impacts to all sectors and individuals.
“The impacts on individuals of obscene and vulgar language being used towards them was a major concern,” he said.
Tuilaepa said one of the key impacts was that on businesses who relied heavily on social media for marketing and promotion of products.
He added that another imoortant aspect considered by Cabinet was the need for social contact and communication between families during these times of border lockdowns.
“So the decision was made after considering all those issues, to continue.. ” said Tuilaepa.
“O lea lā ua fai ai le faaiuga e faaauau pea..”
On Monday Caretaker Minister of Communication and Information Technology Afamasaga Toeolesulusulu Rico Tupai said harmful impacts of social media on individuals was becoming a major concern and a temporary shutdown had been explored.
Afamasaga said there were fake pages actively perpetrating cyber bullying, and by the time they are reported and shut down, severe damage has already been done.
“This is no longer freedom of speech but irresponsible expression of opinion causing harm to others..”
Afamasaga added the amount of fake news, curated truths and slander being published and broadcast over Facebook was having an impact on Samoa.
“Information is power but misinformation can lead to destruction”, he concluded.