MCMC deletes 78% of fake social media accounts this year

pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

THE Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), as of September this year, deleted 78% of 3,877 fake social media accounts created for the purpose of disguise.

Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo (picture) said between 2018 and September this year, 3,877 disguised accounts were detected by MCMC.

“Of these, 78% of them were successfully deleted with the help of social media platform providers, in accordance with their respective terms and conditions,” he told the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.

Additionally, a total of 1,564 links and contents believed to have elements of cyberbullying were also detected. Of this total, 63% were successfully deleted due to violations of the platform provider’s terms and conditions.

Gobind was responding to Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob (Barisan Nasional-Bera) who inquired about the number of social media users who have been blocked and the reasons for it.

Meanwhile, he said there are plans to amend Section 223 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 next year.

“We are currently looking at how best to tighten the fake news law and hope to do it between March and June next year,” he said when answering a supplementary question raised by RSN Rayer (Pakatan Harapan [PH]-Jelutong). Gobind added that his ministry is currently reviewing the law before making amendments.

“The issue of fake news is a challenge faced not only by Malaysian authorities, but by other countries as well. Singapore and Australia had recently introduced laws to deal with fake news,” he added.

Rayer had asked if laws would be amended to deal with fake news, particularly those against the government.

To recall, on Oct 9 this year, the Dewan Rakyat voted to abolish the Anti-Fake News Act for a second time, after the first attempt was defeated in Dewan Negara in September last year.

The public raised an eyebrow when the Anti-Fake News Act 2018 was passed at the Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara on April 2 and 3, 2018 respectively. Subsequently, the Act received royal assent on April 9, 2018 and came into force two days later.

In general, the Act seeks to deal with fake news by providing for certain offences and measures to curb the dissemination of fake news.

After the change of government, the lower house voted to abolish the law in August 2018, but the repeal was rejected by the upper house, or Senate.

A year after an initial attempt to repeal the legislation was blocked by the Opposition-controlled senate, the government successfully scrapped a law making “fake news” a crime.

The PH-led government had also imposed a moratorium on draconian laws, which includes Section 223.

However, Gobind said the law would still be used if it involves issues of national security, public order and race relations. There have been calls for a review of Section 223, as it is deemed too wide, ambiguous and outdated.

The section deals with online comments, requests, suggestions or other communication which is obscene, indecent, false, menacing or offensive in character with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass another person.

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