WHAT CAN USERS DO?
Prof Saifuddin said there is an onus on social media users to take steps to verify the information they are consuming on such platforms.
“First, verify the credibility of sources and evaluate the content with a rational mind. Look for logic in the content, identify the misleading narratives and question if there can be a hidden propaganda behind,” he said.
“Second, report suspected misinformation. If you suspect that the information is not true, report it. Social media platforms will review the request and if the information is true, they will let the content stay and so there is no harm done.
“Finally, and perhaps the most important step, we must recognise and acknowledge our own biases before we begin to evaluate or share the content with our friends and family.”
CHALLENGES IN REGULATION
Experts say there are multiple challenges in addressing the misinformation phenomenon on social media platforms.
For one, real-time fact-checking and efforts to correct or debunk fake information are difficult as they spread so rapidly.
Savvy users have also learnt to bypass content moderation filters, such as by replacing flagged keywords.
Prof Saifuddin said governments need to apply regulatory pressures as social media platforms, being profit-driven business entities, are unlikely to prioritise user safety and content accuracy if left to their own devices.
“Better regulations will only be implemented through regulatory pressures, through authorities, governments and third parties,” he said.
“By themselves, social media companies will only care about markets where their business will be hit. They may ignore other contexts because they don’t matter.”
It is important for social media platforms to have better strategies in labelling misinformation and disinformation, and limiting the propagation of false material that have already scaled, he added.
Dr Boichak said the implementation of laws surrounding social media platforms and the content they allow is crucial in the age of technological advances and increased dependence on online information.
“This will have increasingly important implications on our understanding of wars and on our ability to participate in some of the discourse around them,” she said. “(This will also affect) the ability of the nefarious actors to manipulate some of the discourse surrounding those events.”