Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad warned against abuses of the internet and social media platforms. He was speaking at the opening of the newly expanded Facebook office in Kuala Lumpur recently.
“The Internet is increasingly being abused with the rising number of wrongdoings and offenses committed today, especially through the use of social media platforms,” he said at the opening of the newly expanded Facebook Malaysia office in Kuala Lumpur.
“The rule of thumb is simple – what is illegal offline is almost always illegal online,” he said. “Freedom of speech is not a license to abuse, it is a responsibility. Freedom of speech without any concern for good human behaviour would be a disaster for any society.”
He said while Malaysia advocates for a free and open Internet, this has to be within the ambit of our laws, and cannot be unfettered.
He urged Facebook and other platform providers to continue to collaborate with the Malaysian government and law enforcement agencies in order to ensure that the social media realm remains a platform for positive change.
Dr Mahathir said he hopes that Facebook will improve the Community Standards Enforcement Report feature to cover more forms of hate speech, especially ones that may cause racial tensions among Malaysians.
“The diversity in culture and tradition translates to very different consequences and implications in speeches and postings. If not taken down quickly, such speeches and postings are potentially harmful depending on what is being said and in the context of a particular country,” he added.
Facebook Malaysia country manager Nicole Tan said the company will introduce We Think Digital to Malaysians this year, a digital literacy programme designed to help users think critically and share thoughtfully online.
Facebook Malaysia’s newly renovated office space is located at Q Sentral, Kuala Lumpur, measuring 15,000sq ft.
It features local elements with specially commissioned artwork by Datuk Mohammad Nor Khalid, more popularly known as Lat, Nee Wong, Fritilldea and Eddie Putera.
The office even includes a physical Facebook Wall and Dr Mahathir and Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo were the first guests to leave their signatures on it.