KUALA LUMPUR, June 23 — The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) said today it would take legal action against Meta Platforms Inc, the parent company of social media platforms Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram, for its non-cooperation and failure to address harmful content there.
It said it had reached out to Meta to remove “a significant volume of undesirable content” relating to race, royalty, and religion (3R), defamation, impersonation, online gambling, and scam advertisements that it said has plagued Facebook recently, but to no avail.
“Despite repeated requests from MCMC, Meta has failed to take sufficient action to address the issue of undesirable content on its platform and has not fully cooperated with efforts to remove such content.
“Meta’s response, which has been sluggish and unsatisfactory, has not met the urgency of the matter and has led to increasing public concern and scrutiny,” it said in a statement.
MCMC said that the lack of cooperation has left it no choice but to take “definitive steps or legal action” against Meta to make sure the public is protected and secure in the digital space.
“MCMC is utterly intolerant towards any continuous and escalating abuse of online platforms and telecommunications, network or online facilities for malicious cyber activities, phishing, or any content that threatens racial stability, social harmony and defies respect for the Rulers,” it added.
This comes after earlier this month MCMC said it was mulling taking drastic action against Telegram as the platform was apparently a hotbed for scams, pornography, illegal drug sales and other types of misuse, and was refusing to cooperate with the government.
Communications and Digital Minister Fahmi Fadzil had said that Telegram scams have cost Malaysians some RM45 million from January 2020 until May this year.
Later, on June 19, Fahmi announced that despite its initial dissent, Telegram had agreed to work with Malaysian authorities to curb misuse after a meeting with the police and MCMC.
Right after he took office last year, Fahmi said that tackling online scams rank number one on his list of things to do after being appointed minister, followed by data protection, and misinformation and disinformation on social media.
In 2022, Meta said in report it had identified and removed over 600 accounts linked to the Royal Malaysian Police across all its social network platforms for violating the policy against “coordinated inauthentic behaviour”, with most of them alleged to be part of a “troll farm” to corrupt or manipulate public discourse using fake accounts.
Meta claimed in its Quarterly Adversarial Threat report that this network of fake accounts posted memes in the Malay language in support of the Perikatan Nasional administration and attempted to paint its critics as corrupt, in addition to promoting the police force.