KKMM Quick Response Team takes 30 mins to 3 hours to verify viral news

KUALA LUMPUR, April 16 – The Communications and Multimedia Ministry (KKMM) Quick Response Team takes between 30 minutes and three hours to verify any viral news and simultaneously prevent fake news from spreading, its secretary-general Datuk Suriani Ahmad said yesterday.

She said the team’s efficiency and speed in checking the veracity of the news was achieved through close cooperation with other government agencies.

“The longest it takes (to verify the news) is three hours because we want to be fast to counter the spread (of fake news).

“We want to counter the allegations and we cooperate a lot with other government agencies, who respond swiftly as well as provide the latest and verified information,” she said as a guest on Bernama TV’s Ruang Bicara programme titled “Pasukan Respon Pantas KKMM – Perangi Berita Palsu” (KKMM Quick Response Team – Countering Fake News).

She said that KKMM also monitored the sharing of viral news among social media users to counter the spread of fake news.

Suriani said this was done by a team to speedily verify the authenticity of the news which had gone viral, depending on the level of seriousness.

The team is headed by an officer from the KKMM Strategic Communications Division and comprises staff from the ministry and agencies like the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) as well as representatives from the National Security Council (NSC).

Meanwhile, commenting on the Sebenarnya.my portal, which is led by KKMM, she said information on the portal was updated daily.

“Sometimes we repost (the information) depending on the level of seriousness of the fake news so that it is no longer a topic of discussion,” she said.

The KKMM Quick Response Team was formed on March 16 to counter the spread of fake news and verify certain news, especially in situations where there are many fake news items being disseminated until they cause anxiety among the public.

Fake news and disinformation have become another unprecedented issue.

Last Saturday, Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah said as Malaysia is facing an unprecedented problem in COVID-19 and the frontliners are doing their best to overcome the crisis, fake news and disinformation have become another unprecedented issue.

“Every day, we have to form and prepare (answers from) the rapid response team (that would answer any queries regarding COVID-19, as a countermeasure to fake news). Every day, we have eight to nine issues to clarify…(about) 120 issues to date,” he said.

Saifuddin said this war to counter fake news is far from over and the public need to be educated every single day using all sorts of platforms, including social media and mainstream media.

“We want everyone to be safe. We can do this together by spreading love, and not fear mongering; this is the way forward. We have to learn the new normal,” he said.

Talking about the action on misinformation, Saifuddin said it was something that should not be compromised especially in times when the nation is at war against the deadly pandemic.

“We have to strike a balance. On the one hand, we must be strong believers. We must embrace all the good virtues, values of freedom, democracy, and the right to information, But at the same time, the irony is we still have to take action on misinformation,” he added