Of phony Facebook pages and mudslinging
Social networking sites, particularly Facebook, play an important role in communication, sharing information and discussing developments in Afghanistan. But it has also created problems.
Personal interests are important for people in a country like Afghanistan where war, violence, tribal, regional and linguisticbiases, poverty and corruption are widespread.
Hundreds of phony Facebook accounts and pages insulting intellectuals and political figures have been a matter of concern.These pages have recently increased and are likely run by individuals within and without the government.
Jasusan (Spies), Haqayaq-i-Talkh (Bitter Facts), Rayees, Mutafakir, Afghanistani, Baghban, Pasoon/Mubariza, Kabilan, Milli Mashar, Padar Watan, Fedayat Watanam, Rustakhiz Milli, Watan Janat Neshan Dai, Zhwand Shkwalai Dai, Narange Gul, Torkham, Etidal are some of the pages campaigning against the government.
On the other hand, many otherbogus Facebook pages are defending the country and defaming certain political leaders. Lively debates on current issues do provide valuable insights -- as well as room for mudslinging.
Wahid Omar, a Facebook user, said: “The appearance of hundreds of forged pages created by a number of government officials and politicians are full of words like traitors, corrupt and venal.”
Also a former presidential spokesman, he said Afghan Facebook pages were fuelling violence among the countrymen. He suggested controls to curb communal hatred and discourage divisive efforts.
Khushal Khalil, a social media expert, told Pajhwok Afghan News some internal and foreign circles were also stoking soft war through social media networks. The practice does not bode well for the national interest.
“Afghanistan is at war. Those who send bombs and suicide attackers to Afghanistan are also trying to invest in encouraging psychological warfare in our country. Everyone can do so via social media networks, because there is no cyber-security regulation in Afghanistan,” he commented.
Mirwais Omarkhel, another Facebook user, said decades of war in Afghanistan had created tribal, political and sectarian problems. Some foreign intelligence circles were out to ivied Afghans, he alleged.
He regretted a number of foreign and internal circles were trying to create problems for Afghan political figures and tribes.
However, Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (MCIT) spokesmanYasin Samim called the issue a natural corollary of internet all over the world, particularly in Afghanistan where people have low awareness.
“Addressing these problems is the responsibility of MCIT, which receives a spate of complaints daily, but dealing with the situation is a little hard in Afghanistan, where the technology sector is still nascent,” Samim remarked.
He revealed MCIT had framed a draft law against cybercrime and sent it to the Ministry of Justice. The draft is currently being vetted and improvement and would be referred to the parliament for approval, he said.
Closing the FB-sponsored pages campaigning against the government was the responsibility of the National Security Council (NSC), he explained. The MCIT will act against such pages on the basis of a formal complaint from NSC.
Samim claimed more than 5,000 complaints had been addressed by the ministry in the past 18 months. Most of the complaints were submitted by political figures and intellectuals, whose accounts had been faked on social media, he concluded.
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