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Malaysia Legally Pursues Meta Over “Undesirable” Content

FILE PHOTO: Morning commute traffic streams past the Meta sign outside the headquarters of Facebook parent company Meta Platforms Inc in Mountain View, California, U.S. November 9, 2022. REUTERS/Peter DaSilva/File Photo

BNR – Malaysia said on Friday that it will take legal action against Facebook’s parent company Meta Platforms. It stated that it is due to the latter’s failure to delete “undesirable” content. The action is thought to be the most stringent the country has ever taken on such matters.

The fiercely contested national election last year has heightened ethnic strife. The administration of Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim has promised to limit “provocative” tweets against race and ethnicity.

According to the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission, Facebook has recently been afflicted with a large number of unwanted content material. The topics covered include racism, royalty, religion, defamation, impersonation, internet gambling, and scam marketing.

Furthermore, in spite of the commission’s numerous requests, Meta had failed to take the necessary steps. It went on to say that legal action was required to enhance cybersecurity responsibility and safeguard customers.

A request for comment was not immediately responded to by Meta or the commission.

Race and religion are contentious topics in Malaysia, which is dominated by Muslim ethnic Malays. There are also ethnic Chinese and Indian minorities in the country.

Commentary about the country’s renowned royals is likewise a delicate subject, with unfavourable statements about them punishable under sedition laws.

The Facebook action comes only weeks before regional elections in six states. Anwar’s multi-ethnic coalition is poised to face up against a hard-line Malay Muslim alliance in the upcoming elections.

Previous Scrutiny Over Meta

Facebook is Malaysia’s most popular social media network, with roughly 60% of its 33 million inhabitants having an account on it.

Globally, large social media companies like Meta, YouTube, and TikTok are frequently scrutinized by regulators for the information they publish. Some Southeast Asian governments have regularly asked for content to be removed.

Vietnam vowed to shut down Facebook in its entirety in 2020 if the company did not comply with government efforts to restrict more local political postings on its platform.

In Indonesia, Facebook removed hundreds of local accounts, pages, and groups tied to a false news syndicate in 2019.


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