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Fighting fake news our common responsibility

  • We all have our own part to play in stopping the spread of fake news.

Sin Chew Daily

The communication and multimedia ministry has for the first six months of this year identified some 1,500 fake online accounts and is prepared to take actions against the owners of these accounts.

As a matter of fact, fake news is flooding our world on a daily basis, and stern actions by the government will effectively stop fake news from circulating around and misguiding the public.

Due to lack of stringent identification mechanism on the cyberspace, many individuals have managed to set up fake accounts to spread unverified news through Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites in a bid to advance their ill intentions and personal interests.

The inundation of misinformation has become a very serious problem globally, with governments seriously looking into ways to stop its spread.

The situation has become so serious that tech giants like Facebook and Google have been forced to react. Facebook has labeled links to unverified news and posts as "disputed" in a bid to help users identify the authenticity of a piece of news.

Meanwhile, Google announced early this year to cooperate with CrossCheck to help users evaluate the authenticity of a piece of news delivered through its search engine.

That said, fighting hoax in such a free and unchecked online environment is never an easy thing. Take Facebook's new tool for instance, the filter has not been warmly received by the public but has been said to encourage the growth of misinformation instead.

It is indeed not easy to tackle the abundance of misinformation, and concerted effort from all quarters is warranted to stop the unethical practice from propagating in the cyberspace.

Other than the moves by Facebook and Google, the government's measures are also crucial. The communication and multimedia ministry's decision to act against the 1,500 fake online accounts is a move in the right direction in battling hoax. The move has demonstrated the government's determination to check the spread of fake news while sending a strong signal to warn the culprits authoring and spreading it.

Netizens also have an important role to play in this matter. Fake news has been able to spread so freely mainly because web users lack the ability or will to rationally judge the authenticity of a piece of news fed to them, before they forward or share it.

To completely stop such phenomenon, we need to improve our ability to differentiate between the real and fabricated, and not to easily share any unverified information of dubious source.

Self restraint on the part of netizens can effectively curtail the spread of hoax so as to prevent more people from being misguided by it.

The Internet has breached all time and geographical limitations as a highly effective platform to disseminate news and knowledge. By no means should this technology be abused by irresponsible individuals to spread misinformation for their own gains.

 

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