Abkhaz So-Called Gov’t Considers Social Media Ban

It has been suggested, in breakaway region Abkhazia, by many that social media be banned. Since the political protests held in Sokhumi on May 27, 2014, social media platforms have reportedly become overwhelmed with groups in which the authorities and government have been heavily criticized. 

This is, however, not the only reason that banning social media across the region has been suggested. Many of the accounts involved are anonymous, and have been used to threaten and insult people. People who have been on the receiving end of such atrocities have called for the users’ identities to be revealed. The idea of disallowing fake accounts to be set up has also been discussed. 

The idea of banning social media sites entirely was put forward by several MPs. Self-proclaimed Abkhaz President Raul Khajimba commented on the possibility during a meeting with residents of the Sokhumi district. 

“I have long become accustomed to the fact that I am represented in various ways […] But when they do the same to the heads of governments with whom we are trying to build relations […] When they offend and humiliate them, this is a shame for the entire Abkhaz nation,” he said. 

“We are shoveling dirt on one another, practically without any limitations. And many have appealed to me to close down [block access to] social media sites. A decision will be made which will solve this issue,” Khajimba added. 

His comments ignited discussion over social media. Reportedly, those who think the change should be realized and those who are against it are roughly equal. 

One user wrote on Facebook “President Khajimba made a strange suggestion. He said that either we have to close down social media sites or else we’ll have to go around to people’s houses and beat them. Maybe we could decide ourselves: begin collecting signatures to close down Facebook, or to get beaten?” 

Another said “of course you can’t close down social media sites. But you can bring those who are purposefully spreading disinformation in society to accountability … that is in fact entirely necessary. Yes, this is a new issue, a new challenge, but it must be met.”

By Tom Day

07 February 2018 10:16