malaysia

Blocking Facebook would be regressive, say users

Communication and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek (right) said the government was considering shutting down Facebook because of abuses on the social website. — File picCommunication and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek (right) said the government was considering shutting down Facebook because of abuses on the social website. — File picPETALING JAYA, Aug 10 — Internet users are against any attempt to block access to Facebook in Malaysia as they consider it a step backwards in the information age.

With millions of Facebook users in the country, they feel it is unfair of the government to consider prohibiting access because of a few bad apples.

Yesterday, Communication and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek said the government would look into the possibility of shutting down Facebook because of abuses on the social website.

He said the ministry was conducting studies and would gather the views of the public.

“If the people are of the opinion that Facebook should be closed, we are prepared to look into the matter but it is a radical approach,” he said.

Ahmad Shabery said he was aware that it would be quite difficult to close the social website as there were about 15 million accounts compared to only 2,000 reported cases of abuse.

“Many business people are using Facebook, others to forge family ties and have nothing to do with politics ... and the complaints received are around 2,000 only,” he said.

“Should we completely close it down because of 2,000 reports? We need to relook this.”

Facebook user Soon Chong said the move would be redundant as it would not stop any “real life” abuses, which were what the government should be focusing on.

“People are reliant on social media websites for news, updates and information and it is up to them to decide on their own what’s best for them,” he said.

“Having some rotten apples does not mean you have to close down the entire store.”

Another user, Robert Lee, said people would still find ways to abuse the system even if the social website were shut down.

“With so many other social media platforms, who’s to say that people won’t be abusing them later on?” he asked.

User Zalika Nazri described her Facebook account as her “online diary” for eight years, as it had a better personal and open concept compared to other platforms.

“It is an outlet for me to vent my feelings. Should the government decide to ban it, the impact will be tremendous because there won’t be a platform to express myself,” she said.

“The inability to vent may also take a toll on my mental health because let’s face it, not everyone can afford a psychiatrist.”

Joanna Choong, who promotes her blog www.josarine.com on Facebook, said the ban would have an impact on her as a blogger but she would rely on other social media platforms to share her works.

“Facebook has the highest number of users connected internationally,” she said.

“Without it, sharing news, current issues, and blog posts would be challenging, as we have been so reliant on it for the years.”

Another blogger, Tian Chad, who cites his blog www.tianchad.com through Facebook, said he would lose his online friends as they easily stayed connected through it.

Tian said that he stayed connected with his fans who preferred to view his photography works and portfolio on his profile on the social website.

“The downside would be that fans on Facebook will not get the latest updates and I may lose my influence,” he said.

Other users also pointed out that Facebook allowed them to be updated with the latest news and social gatherings that were often shared through profiles or pages.

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