The Ministry of Communications and Digital (formerly known as the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia, or K-KOMM) is currently undergoing a review of existing laws to ensure compliance from social media platforms. In a press conference held yesterday, its minister Fahmi Fadzil stated that the move is aimed at reducing the amount of misinformation and provocative material spread via providers such as TikTok and so on.
“I have asked the secretary-general (Datuk Seri Mohammad Mentek) and the Ministry officials to examine the existing law and assess what steps we need to take to ensure not only closer cooperation, but also that the law is stricter,” he said. “And we want to see a reduction to the amount of provocative material, especially with regard to the 3Rs (Royalty, Race and Religion).”
Fahmi revealed that findings from TikTok revealed that 2,113 provocative and extremist videos were deleted by the platform’s AI-based content moderation system during the 15th General Election (GE15) period. According to the minister, 857 videos were deleted from Nov 12 to 18, while 130 recordings on polling day( Nov 19), and as many as 1,126 videos from Nov 20 to 26.
Sebanyak 2,113 video bersifat provokatif dan ekstremis telah dipadamkan secara automatik oleh penyedia aplikasi TikTok – Menteri Komunikasi dan Digital, YB Ahmad Fahmi bin Mohamed Fadzil.
— Kementerian Komunikasi dan Digital (@kkd_gov) December 7, 2022
At the same time, he added that the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) had submitted a total of 202 complaints to TikTok to take down videos from 1 January to 5 December 2022. From that number, a total of 95 videos were found violating community guidelines, 28 for violating the national law, while 79 were not subject to any action. In addition, he said that the platform also blocked more than 1,000 videos that were found to be provocative and extreme during GE 15 after receiving complaints from MCMC as well as other bodies and agencies.
Meanwhile, Fahmi also noted that a special team has been established earlier this month to emphasise on the ministry’s communication aspect, especially on dealing with misinformation. He explained that the team would monitor the transmission of fake news, which could potentially have a negative impact on the economy, socio-culture, religion and security, apart from affecting public order.
“From the observation, the period between the moment the Prime Minister took his oath and the formation of the Cabinet was the most critical, there was a lot of fake news being spread at that time,” he said. “The existence of this task force will help to curb the spread of fake news more proactively.”
Neither Fahmi or the Ministry of Communications and Digital commented on the incident which purportedly occurred yesterday, involving a fake account impersonating Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim spreading misinformation on Twitter. According to sources, the account has been suspended by the platform not long after the Prime Minister’s Department (JPM) took action against it.