THE rampant circulation of fake news on social media has been one of the most pressing issues facing governments around the world in this modern age, where a myriad of tools are deployed to control news and ensure that the public would be informed. on the exact version of the stories.
Without such a fact-checking mechanism in place, the dissemination of distorted and malicious news would have caused irreversible repercussions in society, which could even destabilize a country.
Thus, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) has been appointed as the legal guardian, responsible for keeping fake news at bay through the regulation of the converging communications and multimedia industry in the country.
According to the Minister of Communications and Multimedia, Tan Sri Annuar Musa, the government has launched several initiatives to ensure that Malaysians would be informed of the correct version of the news, and one of these initiatives is a verification website. facts, sebenarnya.my, which was launched in 2017.
Administered by the MCMC, the portal is meant to serve as a trusted channel for the public to verify information, as Malaysia has also been the victim of an increase in disinformation and disinformation campaigns.
A major example of fake news going wild in the online sphere was that circulating during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic – it ranged from discouraging the public from getting vaccinated to various unproven medical remedies to help a patient recovering from contagious virus infection. .
In this regard, sebenarnya.my was created as “the reference portal” allowing the public to verify news before sharing it with their loved ones, as well as to report fake news they have discovered to the agency. for further action.
With its slogan “Tidak Pasti Jangan Kongsi” (If you’re not sure, don’t share), the website is organized into different sections, covering different types of fake news about various sectors of the country.
There are six categories under the “National” tab: natural disasters, economy, security, education, transport and administration.
Under the “Social” tab, there are crime, health, and consumer categories.
The user interface of the website is designed to be user-friendly for the public, and a screenshot of the relevant misinformation would be posted along with a small description containing clarifications from the relevant authorities.
It is said that the latest fake news was reported on sebenarnya.my in June this year, about organizing a “Hot Air Balloon Putrajaya Festival” and also about the possibility of earning RM6,000 by participating in a questionnaire published as part of the 137th anniversary celebration of Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB).
Regarding impersonation of government agencies to trick unknowing people into applying for fake job vacancies or joining fake investment programs, the website has exposed a scam in which people posed as agents of the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), an agency under the Malaysian Ministry of Communications and Multimedia.
Another scam involved individuals posing as MCMC agents, who accused the victims of being involved in criminal activity.
The sebenarnya.my portal also warns the public against various tactics used by scammers in relation to special withdrawals from the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) – ranging from using fake EPF emails to inform the status of special withdrawal requests, to make a claim to have third-party agents to provide assistance in the request process.
A special tab has been set up on the website to specifically highlight fake news related to Covid-19, acknowledging the government agency’s critical duty to be at the forefront in combating such fake news. new.
One of the fake news stories highlighted involved the removal of the digital certificate of vaccination if a person refused to take a booster. The news was inaccurate as the certificate would only show ‘incomplete vaccination status’ and would not be completely removed.
There was also inaccurate information about a teenager who died after receiving a Covid-19 reminder, which came out in February this year. The Department of Health had since clarified that the teenager’s death was due to pneumonia and congenital heart disease.
He also pointed out that the teenager had not received the booster dose, as claimed by the press.
A police report had been drawn up to investigate the matter.
Apart from being a means for the public to check their news, the website also serves as an educational platform for the company to acquire the knowledge necessary to be a responsible internet user when using online media.
Under the “Info” tab, there is useful information in the form of news clippings to keep the public informed about ethnicities when using social media, including “Do you know how to handle fake news?” ‘, ‘Ways to deal with trolls’, ‘Avoid handling sensitive issues’ and ‘Monitoring children’s Internet use’.
For those seeking to support the government’s efforts in combating fake news that affects the public interest or the country, they can visit the website and click on the ‘SALURKAN KEPADA KAMI’ (Channel to us) tab to share/report any unverified or false information. news shared on social networks.
The audience will have to provide information such as the website link or news content that contains inaccurate information and the source of the news.
Alternatively, complaints about the multimedia sector can be made by visiting
https://aduan.skmm.gov.my/, by contacting the hotline at 1-800-188-030. WhatsApp at 016-220-6262 or email at email@example.com.
There is no doubt that an effective first line of defense against stopping fake news from circulating is public-private partnership, where government agencies work hand-in-hand with businesses and the community to contain the threat of fake news in the shortest possible time.