Fake News: A Case Study on FAKE “Malaysia Kini” Website

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This advertisement was screenshot at 1:41pm, 12 March 2020.

If you are a follower of Malaysiakini page on Facebook, you should have come through a clarification very often recently. Malaysiakini has been alerting readers about an imposter website.

I did not pay attention to it until there was a very weird sponsored advertisement pops up on my Facebook timeline today. The sponsored content shows as if it is a news from Malaysiakini and it is clearly a fake news. So who is sponsoring the fake news?

The sponsor behind the fake news is a page “Art News” and it was newly founded on March 2, 2020. Its webs link url is https://www.facebook.com/Art-News-105290151083000/. Mind you, you will not be able to get the correct search result by searching only “art news” as it was so new. You can only get to the right landing page by key in the page ID “Art-News-105290151083000”

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The follower and likes numbers are amazing for a new page that has been founded for only 10 days, isn’t it?

The page so far has 14 posts on its timeline and all of the posts are linked to the legitimate artnews.com, a 100-year art media in United States. The page has only been registered on Facebook for merely 10 days; yet, there are 7,387 followers and 7,362 page likes. Hebat kan?

More interestingly, the page has 16 advertisement records for the same piece of news mentioned above, and the admin didn’t post that news on the page timeline! In other words, you will only trace all these if you click into the page transparency button.

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There are 16 advertisements being sponsored by the page on the same piece of fake news.

If you click into their sponsored content that impersonates to be Malaysiakini, it will link you to the following url: http://www.nelassa.com/lp/lim/. The news portal tries to impersonate the biggest news portal in Malaysia by using “Malaysia Kini” (with a space between the words) as name. However, it is so fake for any rational reader who clicks into the link. So the most important thing is the clickbait headline being shown on Facebook timeline that gives users a false impression.

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The most interesting part of this search is, I am directed to the Star instagram account when I click on the link of the Facebook Advertisement records. It jumps from http://www.nelassa.com/lp/lim/ to https://www.instagram.com/thestaronline/.

However, I don’t rule out the possibility that the fake page and its owner behind may just want to falsely link the MCA owned newspaper into this disinformation warfare.

To stay clear from all the fake news and disinformation, one has to be very alert all the time on what you see (even just three seconds) and read.

Written by

Member of Parliament for Kluang, Malaysia. A former journalist, an advocate for media literacy.

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