Urgent to fight racial disinformation on social media, says expert

Gayathry S Venkiteswaran.

KUALA LUMPUR: An academic says the problem of racial disinformation on social media is unlikely to be resolved if we do not address the root cause of the problem.

Gayathry S Venkiteswaran, an assistant professor on media at Nottingham University Malaysia, said social media is wide and people tend to trust whatever that is being posted online.

“There’s no way to stop people from spreading false information on social media.

“We have to address some of the political and socio-economic issues that is dividing us.

“The propaganda being spread by people on social media is actually coming from the race-based policies that we already have.

“Our policies tend to be quite ethnic-based,” she told FMT, on the sidelines of a forum titled “Kasi Viral: Spread Racial Disinformation”.

Gayathry also said racial matters could definitely be manipulated by political organisations.

She said it was urgent to overcome racial disinformation that has gone viral on social media before it could divide people further.

As it is, racial disinformation has caused divisions among people in a multiracial country like Malaysia, she added.

Gayathry said people needed to have honest discussions on a fair distribution of resources and why it was not being distributed properly.

“We have our prejudices: we are afraid of foreigners, refugees or the Chinese conquering the economic sector.

“Such racial disinformation actually creates the opportunity for hatred. When that happens, there may be violence and it may be too late to do something then.”