Basil did not say when the ban would begin, according to the Post-Courier.
Facebook said in a statement to The Washington Post on Tuesday, “We have reached out to the government to understand their concerns.”
According to government estimates cited by the Australian Broadcasting Corp., about 600,000 to 700,000 people in Papua New Guinea use Facebook, out of a population of roughly 8 million.
Facebook, which has more than 2 billion users, is facing mounting pressure from skeptical governments around the globe. CEO Mark Zuckerberg endured rounds of grilling by dozens of U.S. lawmakers last month, during which he repeatedly apologized and promised changes to privacy policies after the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Last week, Zuckerberg fielded questions in Brussels from frustrated members of the European Parliament who needled him over the company's recent controversies over privacy and misinformation.
The recent hearings in Europe and the United States also reflect a growing unease with Facebook's dominant position in the marketplace, with lawmakers pressing Zuckerberg to identify which companies closely compete with his. Critics of Facebook say the company deserves robust scrutiny, considering its history of apologies and promises. Some have argued that Facebook should be broken up or face new regulations that address the increasing power and influence of massive technology platforms.
The month-long censorship in Papua New Guinea may also lead to the creation of an alternative to the Silicon Valley-based Facebook, Basil suggested. “If there need be, then we can gather our local applications developers to create a site that is more conducive for Papua New Guineans to communicate within the country and abroad as well,” Basil told the Post-Courier.