The Bangladesh government has requested social network giant Facebook to take down around 100 pages for spreading rumours about the Covid-19 situation in the country.
Confirming the matter, the Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (BTRC) officials said reports about pages that reportedly shared misinformation were sent to Facebook in the last two weeks.
The government, however, said the response and action from Facebook was not adequate during such crisis.
Post and Telecommunications Minister Mustafa Jabbar told The Business Standard on Wednesday, "We have asked Facebook to take those pages down for spreading false information. Although the company officially replied that it will look into the matter, no commendable action has been taken so far."
"During such crisis [Covid-19 pandemic], the spread of misinformation can be fatal and can increase the damage manifold. So, we need to prevent such practices."
The minister continued, "We have sent a letter to Facebook expressing our dissatisfaction on the matter. The government is also planning to amend the Digital Security Act by detailing the social media section."
BTRC officials said in such cases, Facebook mostly waves their community standard guidelines in the face of the government.
"It is beyond our understanding how one single community standard guideline is enforced all over the world," said a senior BTRC official adding that on several occasions Facebook simply ignored the government's request in such cases citing the community standard guidelines.
"So, if we send 300 reports, maybe, 10-15 of those will be taken into account, and the rest will remain as it is," the BTRC official said.
Earlier this month, law enforcement agencies asked the BTRC to block 50 websites and 82 Facebook pages for spreading rumours about the Covid-19 pandemic in Bangladesh.
Besides, Facebook in mid-April launched its third-party fact-checking programme in Bangladesh. It partnered with the Indian company BOOM for the job, which has been certified by the Poynter Institute's non-partisan International Fact Checking Network.
BOOM is tasked to review and rate the accuracy of stories on Facebook, including photos and videos in Bangladesh.
The government and BTRC high-ups said they are completely unaware of Facebook's third-party fact-checking initiative in Bangladesh.