PM concerned about Facebook abuse, considers shutting down in Tonga

Vicious allegations of a sexual nature against the king and his daughter Princess Angelika have triggered a move by government to shut down Facebook in Tonga.

Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pōhiva said he was seriously concerned at the allegations and the possibility of a Tongan or Tongans publicly making such a serious accusation against the royal family.

He said the government had been long concerned about people abusing Facebook using royal family members.

Pōhiva said it could take about two weeks before the government reached a final decision about the temporary closure.

He told Television Tonga he believed if nothing was done there could be an unrest in the country.

He said the decision has not been confirmed as the government had to consider other people who used Facebook wisely.

He said the government was working closely with Tonga Cable on its plan.

Pōhiva denied claims the move by government to close down Facebook was made because of criticism of his government. He said since he became involved in politics criticism has become part of his life.

He said he believed his critics had no other way to try to bring down his government and now they had made serious allegations against the king to agitate him against his government.

Police Minister Māteni Tapueluelu said in a separate interview with Television Tonga last week that the Ministry of Police, the Office of the Attorney General and the Ministry of Information (MEIDECC) were working together to resolve the problem.

Facebook had been formally contacted about the allegations.

The Minister had to act on the allegations because they compromised national security.

He said the problem with contacting Facebook it took too long for the government to receive a response.