Colombo: Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena on Tuesday revoked the government’s ban on social media use that was imposed throughout the island nation after the April 21 Easter Sunday bombings that killed 253 people. Also Read - Facebook Says It Will Pay USD 1 Billion over 3 Years To News Industry
A statement from the government’s information department said that Sirisena had ordered to lift the temporary ban, which had been applied in the immediate aftermath of the attacks, reports Efe news. Also Read - Facebook Blocks Myanmar Military, Ban to Extend on Instagram As Well
In the brief statement, the head of the department, Nalaka Kaluwewa, said the government was appealing social media users to “be responsible in their usage of social media sites even though the ban has been lifted”. Also Read - Australia Passes Landmark Law to Make Google, Facebook Pay For News
“The decision to ban social media was taken immediately after the attacks. Now after analysing (the situation), the government is of the view that it can be lifted,” Kaluwewa told Efe.
“Further, we have to look at returning to normalcy and this decision (to revoke the ban) was connected to that as well.”
However, he warned that “who ever shares misinformation has to take responsibility for whatever they share”.
“Under the emergency regulations which are in force, the spreading of misinformation can be addressed and action can be taken against those who share such matter,” Kaluwewa added.
Immediately after the bombings, authorities declared a state of emergency on the island and blocked social media services and messaging apps such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Viber and Snapchat, arguing that such platforms were being used to spread misinformation and rumors across cyberspace to trigger violence.