CYBERJAYA: A fact-checking website, sebenarnya.my, has been launched to curb the spread of fake news.
The website will allow members of the public to both check the authenticity of a news item or a piece of viral information. It will also submit the information if it is found to be false.
Multimedia and Communications Minister Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak said the website was much needed as many Malaysians had the habit of spreading information without verifying the news.
“They would share certain information and claim that this is dari group sebelah (from another group) and then say minta pencerahan (seeking clarification).
“They should verify first and only share if it’s true,” said Dr Salleh after launching the website at the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) auditorium here yesterday.
The website’s tagline is Tidak Pasti, Jangan Kongsi (Do not share if unsure).
Asked if it was set up with the general election in mind, Dr Salleh said: “Not at all. In fact, if opposition members find fake news being spread about them, they can submit it to the website, too.
“The website belongs to all Malaysians. It does not belong to the Government.”
Malaysians, said Dr Salleh, should be discerning enough to tell between real and fake news.
“Spreading fake news will not only cause public confusion but can lead to unrest and cause unnecessary threat to the country’s security.”
MCMC, said Dr Salleh, discovered some 1,000 incidences of fake news that had gone viral on the Internet.
“This is also happening outside Malaysia,” he said.
A check on the sebenarnya.my website showed that there were 155 articles that had been uploaded, debunking various “news items” or social media posts.
The latest is that of a Facebook post about a soldier purportedly injured in a bomb explosion by terrorist groups, which the army later clarified to be a re-enactment during a training camp in Negri Sembilan.