Staff cut Facebook feed to stop M.P. "abuse": Clerk

The Clerk of the Legislative Assembly has dismissed reports the Parliament’s Facebook livestream being cut off was part of Government plans to ban the social media platform but rather a staff decision to prevent M.P.s from being subject to abuse. 

“The decision was not a directive from Cabinet, our I.T. made the decision to cease the live feed after concerns were raised by the Members of Parliament of the abuse they were copping, which is wrong on all levels,” said Legislative Assembly Clerk, said the Clerk, Tiatia Graeme Tualaulelei. 

Tiatia said Members of Parliament were receiving online abuse during the Parliament’s Facebook livestream feed hence the move to “stop” it. 

“The members were being abused by members of public at the time they were giving speeches in Parliament; the comments made were appalling and disrespectful.” 

The Clerk admitted that he was not aware the live feed had ceased but said it was the right call. 

According to Tiatia there were efforts made by the I.T. Division to mute or filter the swear words but their team were unsuccessful. 

“The M.P.s should not be subject to any kind of abuse and yet members of the public completely disregard the mutual respect and just say the most appalling things online, it is disheartening,” said Tiatia. 

On Tuesday night the Office of the Legislative this is efforts to stop and dampen unpleasant and discourteous comments made towards Members of Parliament during its live proceedings on Facebook which exemplifies a breach of respect towards leaders of our country. 

“The Office wishes to clarify that the initial purpose of its live feed is so that all our citizens here and abroad have access to Parliament proceedings.

“However due to receiving numerous spiteful comments made towards Members of Parliament on Facebook, it is our duty to protect the integrity of Parliament and Members thus the new initiative to install its live feed with Youtube.

“The Office is confident that Youtube stream [alternative] will be more beneficial for Samoans.

“We are assured that its live feed with Youtube is more secure and the best solution and way forward for its outreach purposes.”

Facebook remains the most popular choice of social media site for Samoans. Other platforms growing in popularity are Instagram and Twitter.

Last month the Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi, said the constant use of Facebook by "faceless" users to spread "lies" and "defame" innocent members of the public, including high profile Government and business officials, has forced the Government to revisit the idea of banning the social media site in Samoa.

Tuilaepa said he is tired of people abusing the site to spread hate speech, bully others and promote false and defamatory claims against the Government.

But it is Facebook that has gained the Government's attention with Prime Minister Tuilaepa saying they have received numerous complaints from victims of Facebook abuse.

“The suggestion came from members of the public for the Government to consider this and we are entertaining the idea, similar to other countries," Tuilaepa said. 

“This is a result of defamation which continues to be a huge problem.





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