Firewall Installation Underway to Filter ‘Undesirable’ Content from Pakistan’s social media platforms

According to the latest reports, the Pakistani government is implementing a national firewall across different internet service providers (ISPs) to exert greater control over social media. This firewall aims to block undesirable content from reaching a wider audience. A government official recently confirmed that the firewall has already been purchased. Moreover, it is currently being installed and commissioned.

It is pertinent to mention that Pakistan has previously used such technology to block websites and social media apps, including the Canada-based Netsweeper. However, this new firewall will inspect information originating from different internet protocol addresses. The national firewall will serve two main purposes:

  • Identifying the sources of “propaganda material”
  • Subsequently blocking or limiting the visibility of those sources

A government official stated:

“The national firewall will serve two purposes: identify the locations from where the propaganda material is being originated and the subsequent blockade or diminished coverage of those accounts. But, I think the main focus will remain on locating the source of such propaganda to nip the evil in the bud.”

National Firewall Being Installed To Exert Greater Control Over Social Media

Sources claim that there will be a keyword filtering system to detect undesirable content or a threat to national security, likely masking such content from outside users. This filtering system will be used on major social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube, and X, formerly known as Twitter. Other than that, the government is also preparing to prevent the mishandling of Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), potentially directing citizens to inform the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) about the VPNs they are using.

The government has already blocked X for several months, guiding many users to access it through VPNs. Despite some pushback from the corporate community, the platform’s usage in Pakistan has been reportedly halved, from 4.5 million to 2.4 million users. Moreover, the platform’s management has become more responsive to government demands, including blocking an account belonging to the Pakistan Ex-Servicemen Society.

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Laiba Mohsin

Laiba is an Electrical Engineer seeking a placement to gain hands-on experience in relevant areas of telecommunications. She likes to write about tech and gadgets. She loves shopping, traveling and exploring things.

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