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Seen Fake News Floating About? Here’s What You Can Do About It

There are rules and laws that can prevent the spread of fake news.
14 Nov 2022, 05:47 PM
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This article is sponsored by the Communications Multimedia and Content Forum of Malaysia.

Asian reading fake news on social media

Images via drobotdean/Freepik; Edited MIX

Did you know that forwarding those pesky chain messages on WhatsApp might be a crime?

Those messages might constitute as fake news, so sending them to your contact list might land you in hot soup, yikes! If you want to know more, keep reading to find out.

Fake news spreads easily on the Internet

The rise of the digital age has changed the way we disseminate content. What used to be an industry dominated by traditional media is now a maze of loosely regulated content in the Internet’s crevices.

People often think that misleading news is the only thing that counts as false content. However, the umbrella term is also used to describe misinformation, disinformation, and fake news.

Misinformation vs Disinformation

Misinformation is information that is false or inaccurate, such as rumors, insults, and pranks. On the other hand, disinformation is deliberate and includes malicious content, such as hoaxes, spear-phishing, and propaganda.

Whether or not the source realises the information they are sharing is false, misinformation and disinformation can spread like wildfire through shared online content and instant messaging services like WhatsApp.

Both types of false information may cause fear and suspicion among the public, which are detrimental to our society.

So, here are a few steps you can take when you come across fishy-looking news:

#1 Don’t fall for clickbait titles!

Those catchy headlines are designed to trick you into visiting websites that are often either fraudulent or contain false information.

#2 Fake websites are everywhere, too, so make sure all the website links check out

Speaking of scam websites, make sure you check the links as well to make sure they’re legitimate. For example, if the URL states it’s from Lembaga Hasil Dalam Negeri, but doesn’t redirect you to the official government website, don’t click anything further and exit the page! Your personal data might be at risk if you aren’t careful enough.

#3 Fact check before you click “Share”

A simple Google search does wonders, especially if you’re unsure whether the forwarded chain message or article you came across is genuine or not. Sometimes, you’ll find multiple sources stating that these claims and news reports are not true.

#4 Sometimes, just ignoring won’t do… report it!

While ignoring false information is always a good practice, reporting these fake posts will prevent them from spreading even more. By getting rid of potentially misleading information from our online spaces, you're indirectly making the world a better place.

If you see fake news on social media, hit the “Report” option to get it taken down!

#5 Refer to the Content Code 2022 if you’re unsure whether some content is suitable to be disseminated

Not sure whether the information being shared is in line with the rules and regulations? Then, check out the Content Code 2022!

The Content Code 2022 is a set of rules and guidelines for how content is shared in Malaysia’s communications and multimedia industries. The main goal of the Content Code is to set out rules for self-regulation that allow for creativity, new ideas, and the healthy growth of a constantly changing industry.

If you’re wondering where the Content Code 2022 fits into all of this, the Code can help us identify offensive and objectionable content while outlining the responsibilities of content creators in the context of social values in this country. In other words, it spells out what you can and cannot do regarding content.

It also provides a guide for content consumers to practice self-regulation to empower everyone to seek out the types of content they want to view or read.

Part 2, Section 7 of the Content Code 2022 defines what is considered to be “false content”:

False content is defined as content which contains false material or incomplete information and is likely to be misleading. Therefore, it’s essential to follow the rules in the Content Code 2022 to ensure fake news that could cause public fear and jeopardise national security doesn’t spread. False content is strictly forbidden, except when it is satire or parody or if it is evident that the content is made up.

And remember, always verify if something is true before sharing it with the people around you!

The Content Code 2022 doesn’t just touch on fake news

Besides fake news, the Content Code 2022 also addresses several other issues relevant to our local content ecosystem. It was revamped to keep up with today’s societal and technological changes, with an emphasis on these areas:

  • Children In Advertising
  • Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities (PWD)
  • Suicide Prevention Awareness
  • Use of Religion in Advertising
  • Online Abuse and Gender-Based Violence (GBV)
  • Influencers and Online Marketplaces
  • Disclosing Ads

Thanks to the Content Code 2022, we can all look forward to a more comprehensive and safe content environment in Malaysia!

For more information on the Content Code 2022, visit www.contentforum.my or download the Content Code 2022 here.

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