EDUCATIONAL programmes to create awareness can curb the rising number of online abuses as the Internet community continues to grow in the country.
Mobile Content Providers Association president Johary Mustapha said there are 15 million registered Malaysians on Facebook alone and there would surely be abuses given the huge number of users.
However, he said, such abuses were subjective and could be controlled by the account owners.
“There is no need to control what people can post on social media sites as there are probably 10 million things which we can or cannot say,” he said.
“But the authorities can come up with guidelines and this can create awareness among social media users.”
Johary said online abuses were evident especially during the Flight MH370 and MH17 tragedies where some users posted insensitive remarks, upsetting many.
“By having guidelines, people will perhaps think twice before posting or saying anything nasty online,” he said.
Johary said social media has turned into a powerful tool to provoke unhealthy behaviour which could threaten the peace and stability in Malaysia.
“Riots in Egypt and Libya were caused by social media so it definitely is a powerful tool,” he said.
He urged the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission to treat social media abuses as a serious matter.
Social media analyst Christopher Tock said introducing laws to regulate users was a step backwards.
“Such laws will anger users as they would interpret it as a restriction to their freedom of expression,” he said.
As an online personality, Tock admitted that he too has fallen victim to abuses online but said there were methods to deflect such remarks.
“Critics will always be there and Malaysia is well-known for its ‘keyboard warriors’,” he said.
“Those who find themselves bullied online by these ‘keyboard warriors’ should not respond to them.”
Tock advised victims not to hurl abuses and avoid retaliating by posting offensive remarks.
The authorities, he said, should provide a direct channel of contact especially for victims who would like to seek help and assistance when found abused online.
“The authorities should be proactive and generate awareness where they should inform the public on what constitutes an abuse,” he said.
“They must be accessible at all times perhaps by setting up a Twitter account or a direct channel to them.”
Irfan Khairi, who is well-versed with Internet entrepreneurship, insisted that there are adequate laws in place to tackle abuses.
“What needs to be done is enforcing the laws and making Internet users understand that online and offline laws are the same. If you break the law online, you will be charged in court,” he said.
“By not enforcing the laws, things can get out of control. Incitement, blackmail, fraud … these can pose a threat to a country. A racist comment on Facebook will create public outcry.”
Irfan said internet ethics should be made public knowledge as a move to educate people on how to use the social media wisely.
“Teaching the right way of using the Internet in schools and showing the implication of bad behaviour online to social media users is beneficial in curbing this problem,” he said.
Source: Educate users on Internet ethics, say online experts
- 18 Aug, 2014
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