KKMM, MMU studying need for specific laws to combat cyberbullying

KUALA LUMPUR: Cyberbullying and fake social media accounts came under the spotlight in the Dewan Negara today.

Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah told the Upper House of Parliament that his ministry together with the Malaysian Multimedia University (MMU) is carrying out a study on the need for specific laws to combat cyberbullying.

He said discussions were being held to identify solutions and draw up a suitable framework to come up with the best mechanisms to tackle cyberbullying.

“If the existing laws are found to be inadequate to tackle cyberbullying, appropriate amendments can be made to these (laws).

“In making amendments or coming up with new legislation if necessary, public consultation and consultation with the stakeholders will be held to ensure the outcomes will be effective,” he said during the Question-and-Answer session.

He was replying to a question from Senator Datuk A. Kesavadas who wanted to know whether the government intended to study the issue or formulate new laws to control bullying using social media.

According to Saifuddin, there are several existing laws that can be utilised to tackle cyberbullying using social media and cited the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998, Computer Crimes Act 1997 and the Penal Code as examples.

“These laws can be used by the authorities for enforcement (against cyberbullying) together with other existing laws, including civil laws, subject to the facts of the case.

“The laws are generally subject to continuous review, including the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998,” he said.

Earlier, the minister had informed the House that from 2019 till August 2020, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) had taken action against 3,224 social media accounts which were masquerading as other accounts or were fake.

He said of the total, 80% were deleted with the cooperation of social media platform providers, in line with their respective terms and conditions.

“Other content were related to elements of cyberbullying, hatred and the like, whereby 3,638 links or ‘url’ for the accounts and content were referred for further action by the social media platform providers like Facebook, Twitter, Google, Instagram, YouTube and others.

“Sixty percent of them were deleted based on violation of terms and conditions of the service a well as community standards of the platform providers concerned,” he added.

Saifuddin further explained that asides information from social media users, platform providers like Facebook also monitored content on their platforms and took appropriate action if their terms and conditions and community standards set were flouted.

He was replying to another question from Kesavadas who wanted an update on fake social media accounts. – Bernama