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Fake news flounders in face of new committee

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Minister of Information Khieu Kanharith formed the Fake News Monitoring Committee in March to help combat the spread of fake news and exaggerated information on social networks. Hean Rangsey

Fake news flounders in face of new committee

After the Ministry of Information’s Fake News Monitoring Committee acted against more than 100 Facebook pages and news sites, it said the dissemination of fake news on various social networks has decreased by over 50 per cent.

Information and Broadcasting director-general and the Committee’s permanent vice-director, Phos Sovann told The Post on Tuesday that since the committee was created on March 11, the team has identified and acted against online sites that aired fake news, exaggerated information with the intent to spoil the government’s reputation, and incited public fear.

He said to monitor and fight against fake news, the team is made up of close to 100 officers in the municipal and provincial Information Offices and officers who are ministerial advisers.

A team was also created to look for fake news through the Telegram application. It has up to 3,000 persons including officers and leaders from the ministries, institutions, municipal/provincial officers and journalists.

“Our big anti-fake news team in the Telegram app lets our members share fake news which is broadcast on social networks or other websites and submit them to this team so we can take action. And we have received good results,” Sovann said.

He said when members submitted the exaggerated information, the team immediately responded to neutralise it.

“When it’s noticed that some Facebook accounts have been posting exaggerated information, we first take action by listing the Facebook accounts, Facebook page, or website and identify them as having spread false information.

“After that, we investigate with different departments and follow those pages. If we see the same manipulated information spreading, we will take legal action accordingly,” Sovann said.

As a result, he said, the group has investigated about 100 websites and Facebook accounts that had been very active in spreading exaggerated information since March.

“We have identified those already and we have sent the links to the competent authorities who will take action accordingly.

“For those websites and Facebook accounts that spread exaggerated information from overseas, we can block their posts from reaching Cambodia,” he said.

The committee was started by Minister of Information Khieu Kanharith and includes the ministry’s permanent secretary of state Ouk Prathna as its director. Also included are vice-directors and members totalling about 100 people across the country.

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