ISLAMABAD - Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain Monday sought Facebook cooperation to counter hate speech and boost e-commerce in Pakistan. In a meeting with Vice President of Facebook Public Policy Simon Milner, he emphasised the need for formal collaboration to explore the avenues of cooperation with Facebook to promote commerce and business activities in Pakistan.

The minister said it was encouraging to find out that they share common grounds to deal with hate speech and related content that leads to violence in the society. “We believe in freedom of expression and free speech,” he said. “Our only concern is to defy hate speech and blasphemous content that incites violence,” he said while explaining the government’s approach on social media.

Milner underlined the need for coordination between Pakistan’s government and Facebook to encourage expression and create a safe environment as Facebook is a global platform that gives more than two billion people globally the opportunity to connect and share. “We have clear rules against hate speech and content that has the potential to incite violence, and share the same commitment to remove such content in Pakistan, and globally,” Milner said.

Fawad proposed Facebook to have an official operational unit in Pakistan. “We will facilitate the office entity with the best available protocols,” he added.

Milner expressed the Facebook’s commitment to help its community, including small businesses and developers in Pakistan to connect, share and grow.

Earlier this year, Facebook committed to train 20,000 women entrepreneurs across 150 women empowerment centres in Pakistan in collaboration with the Universal Service Fund, adding that its developer circles had a thriving community of 7,800 developers across Islamabad, Lahore, Sahiwal, Gujrat and Faisalabad.

Federal Minister for IT Khalid Maqbool Siddique was also present in the meeting.