BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – Members of the public can now report fake or malicious information circulated on social media to the Darussalam Hotline 123.

In a press statement issued on Tuesday, the Authority for Info-communications Technology Industry of Brunei Darussalam (AITI), said that any unverified information which may be defamatory or can lead to breach of national security, should be reported.

The move is backed by various ministries and departments under the “one-government approach” initiative, in hopes to encourage responsible social media usage.

At the Legislative Council meeting in March this year, youth representative YB Khairunnisa Hj Ash’ari called for a standard operating procedure to address the increasing prevalence of fake news on social media platforms.

With the sultanate having one of the highest social media penetration per capita, the LegCo member pointed out this is why misleading information spread very quickly.  This, she stressed, has led to disagreements and confusion among the public.

“[Due to the high usage of social media in Brunei] it becomes important for the government to help educate the public on how to identify and stop the spread of unverified and fake news,” she said.

Responding to YB Khairunnisa’s concerns, the minister at the Prime Minister’s Office YB Dato Seri Setia Hj Abdul Mokti Hj Md Daud, assured that the relevant ministries and government agencies are putting in place the necessary guideline for ethical and responsible social media usage.

Besides dialing the Darussalam Hotline number (123), members of the public can also report instances of social media misuse, via WhatsApp to 8333123.

“Each individual plays a role to ensure safe, responsible and ethical usage of technology and social media,” AITI reminded in its press statement.