“This is dangerous, very dangerous,” Wong said. “And this is the type of thing... like, we have a million more people in our country that just sit on Facebook because it’s cheap, it’s easy, and they can get their opinion out. That’s all it is for.”

Papua New Guinea struggled with Facebook long before the pandemic hit, with government officials even floating the idea in 2018 of banning the site and launching its own state-run alternative. And while a minority of people in Papua New Guinea are on the platform it’s still clearly contributing to headaches for health officials who want to see people vaccinated.

Facebook’s moderation policies receive a lot of attention in the U.S. and Europe, but many parts of the globe don’t get the same resources, especially in places that don’t speak English. PNG has a large English-speaking population, thanks in large part to colonialism, but it also has over 830 languages currently in use, a high number for a relatively small population. Facebook has moderators working in roughly 50 languages, according to its own statistics.


“I think Facebook has a lot of influence here and they need to be held responsible for some of the information that they [distribute],” Wong said.

“Most of it, if I take you through Facebook now... some of the stuff that is unbelievably not true. And they still push it out and they’re [...] supposed to have a program to stop these type of things.”