Bangladesh has experienced an exceptional growth in the number of social media users in the past year. The number of people who joined a social platform or network in the country increased by nine million (90 lakh) between 2020 and 2021.
The misuse of social media platforms is also growing day by day alongside increase in number of users. But the global internet-based firms earning millions of taka from Bangladesh are not complying with the country’s law. Posts and Telecommunications Minister Mustafa Jabbar expressed views about various aspects of social media in an interview with the Bangladesh Pratidin, the country’s highest circulated Bengali daily.
About government supervision on global internet-based firms, the minister said that there was a time when social media including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube were not paying much attention to Bangladesh but now they are holding regular meetings with the county’s concerned authorities. They are even paying VAT complying the country’s law.
Mentioning that controlling those giant firms is a big challenge, Jabbar said that the day may not be far off when these social media, including Facebook, will come under the government control.
Replaying to a question what kind of steps the government is taking to control various 'offensive' content including 'anti-government and anti-state' propaganda being spread on social media including Facebook, the IT expert said, "We have gained a lot of expertise in these areas. We now know who is carrying out such propaganda from abroad and it requires help from those social media platform to close those sites. We have built a good relationship with Facebook and at present our relationship with them has reached such a stage that they meet us every week, talk every day and respond to everything we report”.
Mentioning that there was a time when Facebook authorities did not have people who could understand Bengali and remove Bengali content, the telecom minister said now they solved the problem and Bangladesh can communicate with them directly on the phone.
“Now the most threatening thing for us is JMB, IS, and other militant oraganisations who are using these social media as a platform for their purpose. Many are personally using these as a platform for spreading propaganda against important persons including ministers, MPs and others.
To control this kind of offence, we have expanded the monitoring system through BTRC and the government is trying to collect more equipment to strengthen monitoring system”, he said.
Saying that it is difficult to identify those account holders who are spreading propaganda from abroad or through fake ID, the minister said that ICT Division, BTRC, and law enforces are making maximum efforts to identify those and take action.
"We can shut down all websites, pages and accounts whish are spreading 'offensive' content including 'anti-government and anti-state' propaganda from this country within a moment but it could not be done which are operating from abroad," said Mustafa Jabbar.
Saying that his ministry was able to close 22,000 porn sites, 6,000 fake sites and 1,100 websites through a project, Jabbar said that it played an important role in maintaining the integrity of the country.
“If we receive any allegation against any account, site or YouTube channel spreading anti-national content, defamatory information against any person, then we will bring him/ her to book through law enforcement agencies, he added.
Source: Bangladesh Pratidin (Translated)
BDST: 1547 HRS, SEP 13, 2021