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Facebook declines Pak's request over cell phone number link-up

Press Trust of India  |  Islamabad 

has declined government's request to link all accounts with the users' mobile phone numbers, a media report said today.

"had suggested that accounts be linked with users; mobile phone numbers. However, the management of believed it was more feasible to sync accounts with email addresses," a senior official from the Ministry of (MoIT) said yesterday.

The official explained that the purpose of the request - turned down by - was to help the deal with fake accounts, which were often used to spread hate material in cyberspace, the Dawn reported.

He explained that the concept was the same that was employed by other messaging applications, such as WhatsApp.

"A WhatsApp account only becomes operational when a user enters a four digit code to verify the authenticity of the phone number entered by the user," the official said.

On Wednesday, MoIT Secretary Rizwan Bashir had told the National Assembly Standing Committee on that the had suggested that sync users' accounts with mobile phone numbers.

However, according to the MoIT official, maintained that the policy for creating new accounts would remain unchanged.

The networking site termed Pakistan's request to link all accounts to individual phone numbers as "improbable", the daily said.

But the giant did respond positively to Pakistan's request to block blasphemous content and other hate material posted by users.

"assured us they would look into the government's concerns on a priority basis after assessing the situation," the official said.

"has declined Pakistan's request to link opening of new account to users cellphone number," Spokesperson Christine Chen said.

"We can confirm that Pakistani officials requested that we link the opening of a new account with [an] Internet user's mobile phone number to address the problem of fake accounts. We declined that request," Chen said.

The spokesperson said that was concerned about cases against some users in that were currently in court.

Last week, Vice President of Joel Kaplan had met Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan to discuss ways to remove hateful, provocative and blasphemous content from the website.

This was the first time that a senior member of management dealing with global public policy had visited to discuss measures for addressing the issue of misuse of platforms especially which has over 33 million users in the country at the moment.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, July 16 2017. 14:22 IST