CYBERJAYA: The fact-checking website by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), ‘sebenarnya.my’ has become one of the most popular portal with hits of over 11 million.
The website with “Tidak pasti, Jangan Kongsi” (Do not share if you are unsure) tagline was established as a one stop centre for the public to check on facts and to obtain verification on fake viral news.
Technology advancement and speed in sharing messages, video and pictures without any verification has become a challenge that needs to be contained, as it has become a culture.
MCMC Chief Operating Officer, Dr Mazlan Ismail said the portal asserts the government is serious in countering the spread of fake news, a growing concern all over the world.
“Our people use the “sharing is caring” practice that tends to make them share any information without verifying it. This may result negatively if the information shared is fake.
“We have seen many examples of unverified information which were spread that impacted an individual, organisation or even the government. This is where the portal plays its role to verify the validity of information received through social media, instant messaging system, blogs or website.
“MCMC provides the platform to be used by all the 21 ministries to explain any issues which had been made viral. Previously, each ministries need to move on its own to make that explanation. The portal also plays as a role to be a repository and an archive for fake news which had involved the public’s interest and the nation,” he said.
Mazlan said information spread on social media would be referred directly to respective ministries and agencies for them to provide an explanation within 24 hours to ensure the issue had been addressed.
“This is the timeframe given for them to provide us with feedback, however, for complex issues which needs more research and investigation, they need to come up with a statement to us asking for extra time for investigation purpose.
“For us in MCMC, this creates a healthy competition among ministries and government agencies as they ‘race’ together in addressing any information which had been made viral and to verify it.”
He said as of now, there were almost 1000 fake news made viral in social media, involving many issues like halal or haram status of any food or drink items as well as “recycled” information which had been spread many times.
“We found that Malaysians always spread “recycled” information. Thus, it is very important for us to have a platform to identify the legitimacy of the information. However, the challenge here for us is to fulfil the expectation of the people who wants to know on the verification, immediately.
“MCMC also do not have a wide access to the particular group who are always responsible in making an information or a fake news, viral. Following this, we have made a move for aggressive campaign to increase public’s awareness to hold on to the “tidak pasti, jangan kongsi” principle.
“Although we can regard the positive response received by us from the people as a success, however, the real success for us is when we combat completely on the spread of fake information.
“We would not be able to control actions of all, but with continuous campaign and effort, we hope to increase the public’s awareness,” he said.
Translated from Harian Metro