Pakistan has gone to great lengths to track technology users in the name of censorship and security, but it's not going to get very far with Facebook. The social network has turned down a government request to link phone numbers to accounts in a bid to cut back on fake accounts posting illegal content, such as sacrilegious statements. Facebook will remove fake accounts, a spokesperson tells the Express Tribune, but it also has to protect the rights of its users.
We've asked Facebook for a full statement.
The company frequently encourages the use of phone numbers, of course -- you're less likely to have your account hijacked if you enable two-factor authentication. However, a Pakistan requirement would likely have a chilling effect. As you have to register your SIM card with a fingerprint in the country, any phone number is indelibly tied to its owner -- write a provocative post and authorities could easily come knocking at your door. Facebook would rather risk the possibility of fake news than discourage Pakistanis from speaking their minds.