KUALA LUMPUR – The social media is now seen as a platform to defame or spread false information.
What is more worrying is that even the false information is accepted in toto, with no effort made to verify it, and for some social media users, to continue sharing the information that it became viral to an extent of undermining the country’s security.
The fight at the Low Yat Plaza last July 12, for example, started over a telephone theft but became viral when some quarters linked it to racial issues.
The assistant secretary for Information Technology and Communication Cluster, National Council of Professors, Associate Professor Dr Azlina Ahmad said the incident should be viewed seriously by the authorities and should be tackled wisely.
“The authorities should act fast, whether to take action on those responsible for spreading the false news or to resolve the matter, if it is found the information is not true,” she said.
Following the incident, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak called for a review of the social media freedom by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC).
He regarded those who used the social media to stir racism following the incident at the Low Yat Plaza as irresponsible.
Chairman of the Centre of Media and Communication Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Associate Professor Dr Normah Mustaffa said MCMC should have its own action plan in addressing the issue.
“We want to see more bold actions taken by MCMC and the matter to be reported in the media as a reminder to the people so that they will be more careful when using the social media to spread information,” she added.
She said the social media was now seen as among platforms by certain quarters to tarnish the government and the country.
“This is because the social media is the most effective and fast medium to spread information and slander,” she added.
She said there was a need for a more transparent and effective governance to stop quarters, especially the opposition, from criticising the government.
The government, she said, should take aggressive measures by also using the social media as a medium to respond to accusations hurled by the opposition parties.
“Don’t just keep quiet. Making response through newspapers and television has slower feedback,” she added. – BERNAMA