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Georgian PM Might Be Sued for Removing Critical Comments from his Facebook Page

By Tea Mariamidze
Friday, June 8
Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili might be sued for removing some critical public comments from his official Facebook page.

The information was released by the head of the non-governmental organization Georgian Democratic Initiative Giorgi Mshvenieradze.

Public negatively reacts to one of Kvirikashvili’s posts on his Facebook page, in which he criticized NGOs for their calls on the resignation of the Justice Minister. The PM’s post was followed by a lot of comments, criticizing him, but they were gradually disappearing, according to Mshvenieradze.

He believes that the pages that belong to state officials represent means of communicating with the public and they should give citizens the opportunity to express their opinions and to communicate with the government and politicians in this way.

“When it comes to the Prime Minister's official page, where many posts are published and advertised by the administration of the Government and the Public Relations Office of the Prime Minister, we believe that the removal of citizens' comments by them is unlawful,” Mshvenieradze said.

The head of the NGO says they have taken screenshots of the comments which were later deleted by the governmental administration. He also added that when people disliked the PM’s post and reacted with laughing emojis, it was followed by a sudden wave of likes.

“We have the proof that the PM’s Public Relations Office deleted a lot of comments…Many of them were critical, maybe somehow irritating but not offensive,” he said, adding some Facebook users were even blocked by the governmental administration.

The governmental Administration says they really deleted some comments, adding they were “unethical.”

“One of the posts of the PM underwent a viral attack, or "trolling", which is used by specific groups, Facebook users to express the protest. Increased reactions to the post were followed by unethical comments, which were deleted,” the statement of the governmental administration reads.

After realizing that their comments were deleted by the PM’s PR Service, part of the citizens held a protest rally at the governmental administration.

The demonstrators claim the government is using special bots and computer programs to increase the number of likes on the PM’s posts.

Protesters claimed the Facebook users who suddenly started to like PM’s post were from India, Bangladesh, Vietnam and Pakistan, which raises questions that the number of likes was increased artificially, by means of special computer programs.