Fawad seeks Facebook’s cooperation to counter hate speech, boost e-commerce


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

Fawad, in a meeting with Facebook Public Policy Vice President Simon Milner, emphasised the need for formal collaboration to explore the avenues of cooperation with Facebook to promote commerce and business activities in Pakistan.

The minister said, “It was encouraging to find out that we share common grounds to deal with hate speech and related content that leads to violence in society. We believe in the freedom of expression and free speech,” he said.

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

Simon 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 more than two billion people globally the opportunity to connect and share.

“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.

Fawad proposed that Facebook should 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 to connect, share and grow.

Earlier this year, Facebook committed to training 20,000 women entrepreneurs across 150 women empowerment centres 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 and Telecommunications Khalid Maqbool Siddique was also present during the meeting.

The meeting was attended by information and broadcasting, information and technology secretaries, PTA chairman, PID Islamabad principal information officer, a representative from ISPR and other senior officials of the ministry of information and broadcasting.