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Malaysia orders Meta, TikTok to combat harmful content

The government reported over 50,000 cases to social media platforms in the first three months of this year
Malaysia orders Meta, TikTok to combat harmful content

In this photo illustration, the TikTok app is seen on a phone on March 13, in New York City. (Photo: AFP)

Published: April 10, 2024 05:28 AM GMT
Updated: April 10, 2024 05:33 AM GMT

Malaysia has ordered tech giants Meta and TikTok to present plans to combat harmful content online, authorities said on April 9, after the Muslim-majority country reported an uptick in offensive material on social media platforms.

The government reported more than 50,000 such cases to various social media platforms, including Meta's Facebook and TikTok, in the first three months of this year alone, the Communications and Multimedia Commission and national police said in a statement.

They added the number of cases for the whole of last year was about 43,000.

While they did not specify any examples, authorities said they were particularly concerned about posts connected to race, religion and royalty.

These subjects are highly sensitive in multi-racial Malaysia.

Both tech firms attended a meeting led by Communications Minster Fahmi Fadzil on April 8 and were told to step up their monitoring efforts, including the removal of posts linked to scams and illegal gambling.

"TikTok and Meta have been required to provide an improvement plan and strategy with comprehensive details as agreed in the meeting," the statement said.

It did not set a required time frame or specify what the penalties would be if the companies did not adhere.

The government has previously chided both social media firms for not quickly taking down what it deemed to be harmful content.

Critics say Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, who came into power in 2022, is widening censorship amid a rise in conservatism, which the government has denied.

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