Sri Lanka lifts Facebook ban after anti-Muslim violence ends

FeaturesAssociated Press

Sri Lanka's government on Thursday ended a weeklong ban on social media that was imposed because of concerns that it was being used to fan anti-Muslim violence in the country's central region.

President Maithripala Sirisena said he ordered an immediate lifting of a ban on Facebook after his secretary met with company representatives. He said they pledged they would not allow the service to be used to incite disharmony.

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Soon afterward, Sri Lankans were able to use Facebook. Viber and Whatsapp had been unblocked over the past few days.

Buddhist Sinhalese mobs attacked Muslim-owned shops, homes and mosques in the central Kandy district last week after a Sinhalese man died in a reported assault by a group of Muslim men following a private dispute.

Sinhalese account for 75 percent of the country's 20 million people, while Muslims represent 9 percent.