Malaysia To Sue Meta, it’s government announced on Friday that it will file a lawsuit against the parent company of Facebook, Meta Platforms for failing to remove “undesirable” messages. This is the most severe step that the country has taken to far in response to objectionable information.
Since coming to power in November, the administration of Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim has committed to ban what it considers provocative remarks that touch on race and religion. This surge in ethnic tensions is a direct result of the tightly contested national election that took place the previous year.
According to a statement released by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission, Facebook has recently been “plagued by” a substantial volume of objectionable content related to issues of race, royalty, religion, defamation, impersonation, online gambling, and scam marketing. These issues were discussed in the statement.
In addition, it stated that Meta had not taken adequate action despite the company’s repeated demands, and that legal action was required in order to promote accountability for cybersecurity and to protect customers.
A request for comment was sent to Meta, but they did not react right away. A request for the commission’s opinion on the possible legal actions that could be taken was not immediately met with a response.
Race and religion are sensitive topics in Malaysia, a country that is predominantly made up of Malays, who adhere to Islam, but also has sizable Chinese and Indian populations who constitute significant minorities.
A second touchy subject is commentary on the country’s respected royal family; those who make derogatory statements about the royal family risk being prosecuted under sedition laws.
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The legal action taken against Facebook comes only a few weeks before regional elections in six states, which are set to pit Anwar’s multi-ethnic coalition against a conservative Malay Muslim alliance. These elections are scheduled to take place in the coming weeks.
It is believed that sixty percent of Malaysia’s total population of 33 million people use Facebook, making it the country’s most popular social media platform.
Large social media companies around the world, such as Meta, Google’s YouTube, and TikTok, are frequently the subject of regulatory investigations about the content that users publish on their platforms.
Several of the governments in Southeast Asia have repeatedly requested that certain online information be removed.
In the year 2020, Vietnam made the threat to terminate Facebook’s operations in the nation if the social media company did not cave to pressure from the government to censor more locally relevant political information on its platform. It was reported that in the first three months of 2017, social media platforms operating in Vietnam erased more than 3,200 posts and videos that violated the law of the country and contained misleading information.
Facebook in 2019 removed hundreds of local accounts, pages, and groups that were tied to a false news syndicate in the country of Indonesia.