MCMC investigates 76 cases of fake news

The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission is conducting an investigation into 76 cases of fake news and information dissemination in 2018.

Fadhlullah Suhaimi Abdul Malek, MCMC Network Security, New Media Monitoring, Compliance and Advocacy Sector chief officer, said five cases have been brought to court and that enforcement is not enough to curb the issue, Bernama reported.

He added that consumer cooperation is a key factor in combating fake news and that the government takes a serious stand on the issue. It sees the spread of fake news and slanders including leaking government secrets as a threat to the racial harmony of Malaysia.

According to Bernama, Fadhlullah Suhaimi Abdul Malek said that internet users are responsible for equipping themselves with the ability to access, analyse and evaluate content browsed or received. He added that the skills would enable Malaysians to question the authenticity of the information, its writer and the motive.

MCMC is not the only one to be concerned about the spread of fake news in Malaysia. In January this year, Barisan Nasional (BN) rolled out a new portal called “theRakyat” in its effort to fight against fake news on social media. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak who launched the portal on 3 January 2018, said there is a need for a “platform that can be used to connect, and to spread accurate and quick information to the people” and that “every information in the portal must be authoritative".

A study by YouGov also found that 54% of APAC consumers would stop purchasing from a brand which promotes fake or misleading content. In addition to that, 51% of respondents will choose a different brand in the future or tell friends and family about it. Meanwhile, 44% of respondents would stop following the brand on social media and 26% will delete the brand’s app from their phones.