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The federal government has initiated the installation of a national firewall aimed at regulating social media content and curtailing the spread of undesirable material to a broader audience, according to a report by TheNews.

The new firewall system will scrutinize data from various internet protocol addresses to pinpoint sources generating propaganda content and subsequently block or diminish the visibility of such material. It will incorporate keyword filtering to detect and mask objectionable content, thereby preventing it from reaching external users.

Major platforms like Facebook, YouTube, and X will come under the surveillance of this firewall. Additionally, measures are being devised to regulate Virtual Private Networks (VPNs). Despite previous attempts to block X, many users have resorted to VPNs to access the platform. Initially, the government’s crackdown on VPNs faced criticism from the corporate sector, prompting authorities to temporarily halt the restrictions.

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The blockade of X has resulted in a significant decline in its user base in Pakistan, plummeting from 4.5 million to 2.4 million users. It appears that X’s management is gradually complying with the government’s demands to block accounts disseminating controversial content or discussing sensitive issues openly on the micro-blogging platform.

In April, the Interior Ministry submitted a comprehensive report to the Islamabad High Court elucidating the reasons behind X’s blockade in Pakistan. The report highlighted X’s lack of registration in Pakistan and non-compliance with Pakistani laws as the primary factors leading to its restriction. The Interior Ministry affirmed that the decision to block X was not a violation of fundamental rights.

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