Facebook owner Meta Platforms has denied a claim by Kazakhstan that it was granted exclusive access to the social media giant’s content reporting system.
The Kazakh government released what it called a “joint statement” with Facebook on November 1, stating that an exclusive agreement had been reached on access to data that “would help the government report potentially infringing content. the global content policy of Facebook and the local laws of Kazakhstan. “
The government said the deal, which would be the first of its kind in Central Asia, would make it easier for authorities to remove content they deem illegal and “harmful”.
But Meta spokesman Ben McConaghy said on Nov. 2 that Facebook has dedicated online channels to governments to report content they say violates local law.
âWe follow a consistent global process to assess individual claims – regardless of any government – in accordance with Facebook policies, local laws and international human rights standards. This process is the same in Kazakhstan as in other countries of the world. “McConaghy said in a statement.
“The government issued its own statement, independent of Facebook,” he added.
After Meta’s denial, Kazakh Information and Social Development Minister Aida Balaeva said the original statement was coordinated with Meta’s regional office for Asia.
The Ministry of Information and Social Development has held talks with Meta’s office in Hong Kong which covers China, Mongolia and Central Asia. The text of the joint statement released on November 1 and its publication in the media have been fully endorsed by the leaders of the aforementioned office, âBalaeva wrote on Facebook.
Balaeva did not comment on McConaghy’s statement.
In mid-September, Kazakh lawmakers approved the first reading of a bill that would have required Facebook and other foreign social networks to register in Kazakhstan and establish representative offices in the state of Central Asia, where hundreds of opponents and human rights activists have been prosecuted for their social media posts, especially when they expressed support for the banned Koshe (rue) party and its associate, the movement Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan (DVK).
Critics of the bill have accused authorities in the autocratic nation of 19 million people of seeking new censorship tools, while the bill’s authors say it aims to prevent cyberbullying and the spread of ‘other dangerous content.
Kazakh officials said Facebook has at least 3.2 million users in the country, while other platforms owned by Meta Platforms such as Instagram and WhatsApp have even more users.