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Ministry aims to stop fake news with Facebook

Pech Sotheary / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
Information Minister Khieu Kanharith leads a meeting yesterday. KT/Khem Sovannara

The Information Ministry is aiming to work with Facebook to curb the spread of fake news in the Kingdom after Information Minister Khieu Kanharith’s account was locked.

“I posted video clips based on true information about the border issue and it made [opposition] groups angry,” Mr Kanharith said during a press conference yesterday. “They reported my Facebook account and Facebook blocked it.”

He said that his account was blocked on Friday, but was restored by Facebook yesterday after the ministry contacted the company.

Mr Kanharith said he had posted seven videos the groups did not like, including ones on border issues, Koh Tral island and government policies.

“I would like to thank Facebook for helping to unblock my account which was blocked due to some perpetrators,” he said. “It was because I told the truth about the border.”

Mr Kanharith said Facebook must be able to differentiate between real and fake news.

Information Minister Khieu Kanharith
KT/Khem Sovannara

“We will cooperate with Facebook to eliminate fake news,” he said. “Those who produce fake news band together to get us, people who share real facts, blocked. We have to prevent this problem.”

Mr Kanharith said he will send a letter to Facebook to have fake users who use his name blocked from the social media site. He warned that anyone who uses his name with bad intentions can be faced with legal action.

Pen Bona, president of the Club of Cambodian Journalists, yesterday said Facebook users seem to find themselves perplexed  because perpetrators use various methods to disrupt the sharing of accurate information.

Mr Bona said perpetrators have hacked accounts, posted fake news and had accounts blocked.

“The Information Minister’s request to Facebook was appropriate. I think that Facebook should take the necessary measures to resolve the issue quickly,” he said. “Otherwise, it would cause confusion between what information is true and false.”

The Kingdom is not the only country in the region going to war against fake news.

During the Asia-Pacific Summit earlier this year, information ministry officials from Cambodia, Bangladesh, Myanmar, South Korea, the Samoa islands and the Philippines highlighted the need to fight against fake news.

They then agreed to launch a year-long research project called the “Angkor Fake News Initiative” to combat fake news.

The initiative is supported by Asia-Pacific Institute for Broadcasting Development and Unesco who will collaborate with other partners to provide research for the project.

Research findings and recommendations will help establish a legal mechanism in Asia-Pacific to combat fake news.

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