KUALA LUMPUR: More than 2,000 fake social media accounts have been blocked or shut down since January this year, said the Communications and Multimedia Ministry.
Minister Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak (pic) said the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) had reported these accounts to social media providers such as Facebook and Twitter because they violated the terms and conditions set by these platforms.
"From the 2,000 fake accounts, almost 75% of them have been subjected to further action while the rest are still under investigation," he told the Dewan Rakyat on Thursday.
Salleh was responding to a question from Datuk Mohd Fasiah Mohd Fakeh (BN - Sabak Bernam) on the number of fake accounts that have been identified and the actions taken to curb the spread of fake news.
The Minister said that between January and June this year, the MCMC had investigated 221 cases involving social media platforms, websites, and blogs.
From this amount, 19 cases resulted in fines while five cases were taken to court and successfully convicted.
Salleh said that the highest usage of new media services among Malaysians were that of Facebook and WhatsApp, with more than 90% of locals installing the popular instant messaging service on their phones.
"The problem is that when we receive news and information via WhatsApp, it becomes a habit to forward or share it with the various groups we belong to.
"If you receive any information, you have to check its authenticity first. This applies not just to news originating from the Government, but also from the Opposition," he said in response to a supplementary question from Idris Ahmad (PAS - Bukit Gantang).
Salleh added that a non-political approach was needed to regulate digital society, as it could have negative implications for Malaysia if users were not careful about the news they consumed.