COVID-19: Fighting Rumours with Facts

Since early 2020, Malaysians have been talking about Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) all over social platforms including social media and social messaging. Earlier today on 19 March 2020, one fake news even suggested that military helicopters will be involved in “disinfecting” the country from COVID-19. If helicopters are being used, one should wonder how many of it is required to spray whole Kuala Lumpur area (and subsequently, whole country). It is simply technically impossible to carry out such thing (read: that is a fake news).

Every day, the authorities have to spend their time answering questions from the citizens or even journalists about some fake news items being spread throughout the social platforms. Malaysian Commission of Multimedia and Communication (MCMC) has also set up a dedicated website to combat fake news (sebenarnya.my). The website is updated regularly, even during crisis times such as during the Movement Control Order (MCO). However, many of the news outlets are not highlighting the website as a trustworthy medium to verify the authenticity of fake news circulating around us.

The occurence of COVID-19 outbreak this year has brought many new thing to us. For example, the National Security Council (Majlis Keselamatan Negara – MKN) has published a list of social media / messaging platforms that the citizens can refer to in order to get latest information.

Ministry of Health (MOH) has also being careful with the amount of information that they release to the public. In an apparent compliance with Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA) 2010, MOH has never release any personally-identifiable information regarding its patients. Indeed, the collective responsibility carried out by MOH employees to safeguard patients’ information is something that everyone should applaud.

A fake FAQ list has also prompted the actual one to come out. The fake FAQ has been circulating around since 18 March 2020 while the authentic one was published only on 19 March 2020. Due to tremendous amount of queries received from the public, it prompts the government to come up with an actual one. The fake one looks totally legitimate though. 

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