hits the road in fight against fake news

MCMC network security and enforcement sector chief officer Zulkarnain Mohd Yasin says a mechanism is needed to hold social media platforms accountable for the spread of ‘fake news’. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon 

CYBERJAYA, Feb 10 — After hitting more than 20 million views, now wants to reach out to communities which do not seem visit the fact checking website very often.

It has already identified 25 locations to visit as part of its nationwide tour to spread awareness about sharing only verified content on the internet.

“Based on analysis and data on the visitors profile to the website which includes their location, we knew we had to create a better awareness about the purpose of

“The locations identified were Permatang Pauh, Sungai Besar and Port Dickson among others,” Iis Network Security and Enforcement Sector chief officer Zulkarnain Mohd Yasin told Malay Mail recently.

Zulkarnain said the main focus of the roadshow is in line with the website’s tagline: “Tidak pasti, Jangan Kongsi” (Do not share if you are unsure).

“Our roadshow will concentrate on the Malay community as based on our analysis, they are not aware of the website.

“Fake news is like a poison. It will destroy society if we do not contain it. The website will be an antidote to ensure that the public is not poisoned,” he explained.

The website had 21 million hits in less than a year and Zulkarnain said a soon-to-be launched phone application for the portal will only drive more traffic.

“With the app we hope to reach more readers and be the one stop centre for the public to check facts,” he said.

The mobile phone application is expected to be launched in March.

He said the website, which gets verifications from government ministries and agencies, has also extended its platform to 51 other organisations, including government-linked companies (GLCs).

He said they approached 86 other organisations and GLCs to be part of the initiative.

“We have been at the forefront in advocating positive use of the internet and will continue to encourage the public to be careful before spreading information.”

Zulkarnain said the portal now has over 1,000 news item, and this will only grow with more organisations coming on board.

He said they focused mainly on local news that is of national interest in the areas of crime, consumerism, health, security, education, disaster, governance, transportation and economy.

“The website does not verify the news, we merely collect the verifications from the source by playing a co-ordinating role with relevant ministries and agencies.

“We try the best to get the information from the horse’s mouth, such as from the ministers or official spokesperson of the agency, rather than quoting a news agency or a third party source,” he said.

Zulkarnain said their relationship with ministries and agencies has been cordial and the response has been positive.

“Government agencies are responding faster on pressing issues, this is something the public should know about,” he said.

The fact checking website was launched last March, and is part of the government’s efforts to curb the spread of fake news.