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Monday, August 17, 2015

MCMC POISED TO MEET FACEBOOK,GOOGLE, TWITTER SOON TO CURB FALSE INFORMATION


 SALLEH SAID KERUAK

The issue of false information has recently taken centre stage in the media, especially online news portals.

In this respect,I have instructed the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to meet social media platform providers -- Facebook (FB), Google and Twitter soon to seek their cooperation to stem the increasing tide of false information and rumours from spreading via their social media applications.

Although these three social media platform providers have been cooperating with various Malaysian authorities, the level of cooperation needs to be stepped up.

In fact, there are laws in Malaysia governing the spread of false and unverified information, and it is a breach of these laws for such information to be posted and made accessible to the public. 

At this point of time, although it is possible for authorities to restrict access or block such applications, they will not do so as the majority of social media users are using such applications positively and not for negative or reprehesive purposes.

However, this does not mean that the public can post information unchecked without respect or regard to the law. The online environment is not a lawless space and action can be taken against anyone found to have breached the law, including in the online space.

Bear in mind that publishing or posting sensitive or unverified information might potentially spark an untoward situation likely to jeopardise public safety. 

As a responsible government, it has an obligation to protect its citizens from harm, including threats posed by postings in the social media and internet.
    
As such, deeper cooperation from social media providers is vital in the public interest to help authorities to uphold the laws and keep citizens of this country safe from harm. 

For instance, in 2014, approximately 78 percent of MCMC's requests for removal of content were acted upon by social media providers, with FB acting aproximately 81 per cent of MCMC's requests.

Latest figures as at end of July 2015 shows that 49 percent have been acted upon, 33 percent by YouTube, 42 percent by Facebook. While social media providers have been cooperative, we are requesting them to be more sensitive with our local environment.

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