In an bid to curb the spread of fake news, the government has introduced a web portal a la popular fact-checker site Snopes to verify viral reports and issues
The portal, named Sebenarnya.my (meaning "actually" in English), was launched at the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) headquarters yesterday, 14 March.
Focusing mainly on Malaysia, the portal has been tasked with classifying information and reports online as "real" or "fake" with some help from MCMC and other government agencies. Submissions from the public are also welcome.
According to MCMC, "The portal will only focus on news relating to Malaysia, public and national interests and will not upload all news disseminated."
"Through the portal, the public will not only be able to verify the authenticity of news items they received either through social media, SMS, blogs or websites, they can also report dubious news items to the portal to have it verified by official channels or the relevant government agencies involved," Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak explained during yesterday's launch.
Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak added that false news does not just confuse people, it could also threaten the security and well-being of the people and the country
"Many fake news have become viral on the social media platform such as Facebook and WhatsApp, and some internet users take it literally and simply share them without verifying. This is because they are keen to be the first one to share the information," he said.
"Some may see [fake news] as a small matter, but actually fake news have a big impact. For instance, an internet user spread news that a popular figure had passed away, whereas it is a hoax. When this information goes viral, it may cause panic among the family members or close friends of the victim.
This is just one of the many examples of the impacts of hoax. We want the members of the public to be smart and wise internet users before they spread any information," he added.
He also clarified that the portal is not geared towards the upcoming General Election or to restrict freedom of expression from any parties
"The SEBENARNYA.MY portal is not just meant for political news, but all types of information received from the social media, blogs and other sources can be checked, verified and shared," he said.
"Even opposition parties, if they feel certain fake news is being spread about them, they can submit it to this portal. This portal is for Malaysians, not the government,” he said.
You can check out Sebenarnya.my here
Do you think the new portal can effectively curb fake news in Malaysia? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.