It’s easy to see that Malaysian netizens favour social media networking site Facebook over other available social media platforms i.e. Twitter. After all, there are about 15 million local accounts aka Facebook users (the population in Malaysia as at July 2013 was at 29.6 million).
Unfortunately, not all Malaysian Facebook users have used the service with utmost caution and are careful to not abuse it.
A few days ago, a Facebook user who goes by the name Chandra Lawan Tetap Lawan deliberately insulted Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah by uploading a photograph of a horrific road accident with an edited picture of His Majesty on it in his or her account. Netizens were quick to jump in and condemn the act. However, according to this Chandra Lawan Tetap Lawan account, he/she was framed as the account that posted up the incriminating picture was in fact a fake account but with the same name:
Malay Mail Online reported that the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) is currently cooperating with the police in investigating the case.
Aside from that, there has been several other “gone viral via Facebook” cases which indicated that Malaysian Facebook users are less Facebook-savvy than expected, coupled with the fact that netizens these days believe just about anything that is shared/that they read online. Some of the recent cases, from trivial ones to the more heavy-weighted ones are as follows:
- Pictures of this “white dragon” that was apparently found in Malaysia, which turned out to be a sculpture.
- When people believed that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson “died” because a hoax video was heavily circulated via Facebook.
- Felixia Yeap, who was hurled abusive comments on Facebook when netizens discovered the “real reason” behind her conversion.
- The Sim Kwang Yung Sim story, which came at one of the worst times for our country due to the #MH17 tragedy.
- When a boycott McDonald’s Malaysia “No McDonald’s Day” campaign poster went viral, prompting netizens to react.
Which begs the question, can Malaysian Facebook users be trusted to behave themselves? The Government is beginning to think not. Because as reported by The Star Online, the Malaysian Government is now studying whether it’s necessary to bar access to Facebook.
According to Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek, there has been 2,000 reports of abuse received.
He also added, “Many business people are also using Facebook, others to forge family ties and have nothing to do with politics…and the complaints received were only around 2,000. Should we completely close it down because of that? We need to relook this.If the people are of the opinion that Facebook should be closed, we are prepared to look into the matter but it is a radical approach.”
If the shutting down of Facebook really happens, Malaysia would join the list of countries that have banned Facebook permanently or temporarily such as China, North Korea, Bangladesh, Egypt, Iran, Vietnam, Mauritius, and more.
How would this affect us, the generation that relies on Facebook to connect with friends, network, source for information, advertise, run businesses, watch videos, listen to music, and essentially, share highlights of our daily lives? Is it Facebook’s fault that 2,000 reports against Facebook postings were received? In what ways can we ensure that Facebook, now an integral part of our lives, will be kept accessible? Perhaps start by being more responsible for what you share on the internet, especially Facebook?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments.