Viruses lurk behind dubious social media feeds you share, communications minister cautions

Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Salleh Said Keruak at a press conference in Kota Kinabalu, July 28, 2015. — Bernama pic
Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Salleh Said Keruak at a press conference in Kota Kinabalu, July 28, 2015. — Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 17 — Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak advised Internet users to exercise self-censorship and verify news shared over social media news feeds.

He said they should not just click, like and share blindly as uploading and sharing unverified news could land them into trouble.

“There are ethical and legal implications when one shares unverified news and information online,” he said in his latest posting on his blog, sskeruak.blogspot.my.

Salleh said there was a need to understand the details behind the headlines or truth about a story.

“As most social media fraud experts warn ‘If it is too good to be true, it’s probably a scam,” he said.

He cited several examples of false news reported on the social media, like on an extortion case in Sarikei, Sarawak, last month, which went viral.

Another, he said,  was the ‘Apai Nyamun’ viral post, which claimed a few longhouse residents in Bintulu, Tatau and Mukau, were abducted and killed for their heads and organs, where investigations by the police found there was no such case.

“Irresponsible posts like these can create unnecessary confusion, anxiety and in some extreme cases, panic and fear among the general populace,” he said.

He also advised Internet users against liking or sharing dubious social media feeds as they could be posted by scammers.

“Most of these posts seem harmless — posts that asks you to like and share a photo to win an iPad or to like a post if you hate cancer, for instance.

“Thousands of these photos are circulated. While most users think that sharing these posts on their timeline is harmless, there is a negative side to it,” he said.

According to Salleh, it is a method used by scammers to urge users to like and share fake news or links online to gain more traction for a Facebook page that later will be sold to marketing companies, or worst, used to help spread more profitable scams.

“It could also lead to a virus that deactivates your social media account, which later asks for your credit card details in order to activate it.

“Spreading viral hoaxes makes you susceptible to getting your personal information stolen,” he added. — Bernama

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