Sri Lanka lifts Facebook ban after anti-Muslim violence ends

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — 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.

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.

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