MCMC urged to block jihadist social media


PETALING JAYA: A security expert has urged the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to be proactive when it comes to detecting and blocking social networking sites run by the Islamic State (IS) terror group.

The call follows the publication of an article by technology news provider Engadget that said militants were building their own social networks as Twitter and Telegram continued their crackdown on IS accounts.

Speaking to FMT, JK Associates principal consultant Khen Han Ming said that when he was researching intelligence-based investigations in 2014, he stumbled on some references to Ummaland as a “jihadist alternative to Facebook”.

“Websites like Ummaland, SalamYou, SalamWorld (already offline), or the recently launched TutLub promise more sin-free and shariah-compliant content as opposed to your conventional Facebook,” he said.

He added that radical groups saw such websites as gold mines in their indoctrination and recruitment efforts because the users were considered already open to influence.

When asked to give an estimate of the number of such sites, Khen said: “At least 10 popular ones.”

Apart from spreading propaganda through these sites, he added, IS was also using them to conduct counter-intelligence.

He said it was crucial that the MCMC order local internet service providers (ISPs) and telcos to block these sites.

“People will argue that even if you block these sites on local ISP networks, they would still be accessible via proxy, but I believe such action will eventually bring down the numbers.”

He said that while deradicalisation programmes might be crucial to countering the rise of the IS, authorities needed to look at how to stop radicalisation as well.

“We may have some of the best deradicalisation programmes in the world, but why the need to deradicalise when we can counter-radicalise in the first place?”