Pakistan Installs Firewalls to Control Access to Social Media

To combat the spread of undesirable content, Pakistan has initiated the installation of firewalls across internet service providers. The firewalls will restrict access to prominent social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and X, which has been blocked in Pakistan since earlier this year.

Pakistan already employs a system that blocks websites and certain social media applications, but the new firewalls will enhance the government’s oversight of information disseminated عبر various online sources. According to a government official, the primary objectives of the national firewall are to trace the origins of propaganda and subsequently block or restrict those accounts. However, a key focus will be on identifying the sources of such propaganda to nip the problem in the bud.

The new system will also filter out keywords associated with content deemed undesirable or prejudicial to national security. This content will initially be masked and later rendered inaccessible to users. Posts promoting dissent will be subject to these filters before becoming visible on social media platforms.

While X has been blocked by the government, many Pakistani users continue to access it via Virtual Private Networks (VPNs). Acknowledging this, authorities plan to curb the misuse of VPNs. Citizens are obligated to divulge their usage of VPNs to the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority; failure to comply will result in penalties.

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