Families hit with $5000 penalty over Facebook posts

A village council has moved to address the increasing use of Facebook to incite violence, by penalising families whose family members recently posted derogatory and threatening comments.

The Lauli’i village council has penalised five families in their village and slapped each one of them with a $5,000 penalty fee for allegedly making derogatory and threatening posts targeting chiefs in the village. 

This was confirmed by Lauli’i’s paramount chief, Fuamatu Samoa Oloaga Asuelu, in an interview with the Samoa Observer yesterday. 

Fuamatu Samoa said during the village council meeting last week, the issue — where derogatory remarks were made towards a certain paramount chief by Lauli’i villagers who currently live abroad — was raised. 

“Five families have been penalised, given their family members were swearing, made derogatory and threatening remarks against a certain chief,” said Fuamatu Samoa. 

“This did not sit well with the chiefs of the village, who then moved to penalise these families, and this is embarrassing for the village to be the subject to these types of incidents,” he said.  

Another chief, Fuamatu Kosetatino, noted that the other chiefs wanted the penalty increase to $10,000 and the families banished from the village. 

However, village council elders appealed for the fine to be reduced to $5000. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Fuamatu Samoa further told this newspaper that of the five affected families, only one family member currently lives in Samoa. 

“These are issues those people overseas need to consider before they go on social media and disrespect the elders of the village. 

“We will not allow that. These are high chiefs of the village and we have zero tolerance for such unwelcoming behaviour,” he added.

People who use Facebook to incite violence will also come under scrutiny according to Fuamatu Samoa. 

“This village will not allow that to continue. 

“These social media or Facebook or whatever, should not be made to be abused and for people to use it as a platform, to make derogatory comments and threatening remarks against chiefs in the village of Lauli’i or anyone for that matter. 

“We as the village council have a job to do and that is to keep the peace at the same time, the chiefs of this village will not be disrespected by people who are abusing social media,” he added.

Fuamatu Kosetatino urged Lauli’i villagers living abroad to think twice before posting on social media, as their actions could have consequences for their families back home. 

“That’s why it is smart to think before putting anything on social media, because your actions have consequences and this case has affected your families living in Samoa who are now looking for money to pay for what was posted on social media,” he said.

Fuamatu Samoa and his son Fuamatu Kosetatino said all they want to do is keep the peace and in doing so put some “sort of control” on what is posted on social media.

ADVERTISEMENT
Bg pattern light

UPGRADE TO PREMIUM

Subscribe to Samoa Observer Online

Enjoy access to over a thousand articles per month, on any device as well as feature-length investigative articles.

Ready to signup?