TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Malaysia is seeking public views on whether to stop the use of Facebook following complaints of abuse of the popular social networking platform.
However, Communication and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek admitted that a closure would be "radical" and "quite impossible" as there are 15 million local Facebook accounts.
"If the people are of the opinion that Facebook should be closed, we are prepared to look into the matter but it is a radical approach," said Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery on Saturday, according to the Bernama news agency.
"Many business people are also using Facebook, others to forge family ties and have nothing to do with politics [...] and the complaints received were around 2,000 only. Should we completely close it down because of 2,000 reports? We need to relook this."
He added that his ministry is currently studying the matter and gathering feedback from the public.
The study comes on the heels of a prank on Facebook when a user, who goes by the name Chandra Lawan Tetap Lawan, recently stirred up a storm by putting up a picture of a horrific road accident doctored with the face of the Malaysian king, Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah.
Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery said the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission is working with police to track down the individual, the Bernama reported.
The government's plan to study the possibility of banning Facebook was met with ridicule from netizens, The Star reported on Saturday.
They labelled the proposal shortsighted, idiotic and silly, among other things.
Facebook user Felicia Ernestine Sylvester questioned the rationale behind the suggestion.
"What did Facebook do wrong? Block the users who misuse it. Propaganda can be spread using any media," she said.
Another user, Chong Li Herng sarcastically commented that the highways should also be closed down as it contributes to accidents and deaths.
Facebook is banned in countries such as North Korea and Iran while China, Egypt and Pakistan have previously banned the social networking site, although the bans did not last.
INDAH P. | BERNAMA