If you come across a news citing an anonymous source about the son of a Pakatan Harapan politician was arrested for attempting to carry RM2 million into Singapore, know this: IT IS A FAKE NEWS!
Now, let me show you the trail of this disinformation and how it works
On 13 March 2020, at 5:57pm, Facebook user Ramesh Rao Krishnan Naidu posted two photos with the caption, “Anak #limguaneng Ditangkap di Singapore Sebab Membawa Masuk RM2juta Secara Haram??”
He slyly put two question marks (“??”) at the end of the sentence but the posting is beyond doubt intended to make a baseless accusation.
The first question one should ask is, who is this Ramesh Rao Krishnan Naidu?
A simple search will reveal that he is a staunch supporter of Najib Razak and staunch critic of Sarawak Report because of the portal’s expose on 1MDB. He also once admitted that he is a bankrupt.
After Ramesh Rao’s defamatory post on Facebook, the message began to spread on social media platform.
By midnight of the same day, two Twitter users with large followings tweeted the fake news.
The first is Raja Petra who tweeted a screenshot of the fake news from one Max Najimy’s Facebook post which Max Najimy posted at 8.43pm.
The second is the Rocky’s Bru (Ahirudin Attan), the president of the National Press Club and a member in the newly founded Malaysian Media Council. He did not name anyone but his followers promptly responded to his tweet with LGE’s name.
It is both shocking and disgusting to see a senior media practitioner who has already reached the pinnacle of his career stooping so low and acting like a cybertrooper by posting baseless accusations about a senior political leader in our country.
There were many more social media users, using either real names or pseudonyms, who shared the fake news. I have highlighted two of the most prominent accounts involved.
After these two persons shared the fake news, Nanyang Siang Pau carried a version of news in the morning of 14 March, but without naming anyone. Ironically, Raja Petra, although tweeting about it, did not write anything on his own website, Malaysia-Today until after Nanyang Siang Pau published the news. After Nanyang Siang Pau’s publication, Raja Petra quickly posted on his website, a screenshot of the newspaper’s version of the fake news in mandarin. He however posted it with names.
In summary, the fake news was started by someone with no credibility and a malicious political agenda, then it was picked up by many different social media users most of whom are supporters of Barisan Nasional, and two popular personalities lent their weight to the fake news by sharing it, followed by a publication in a local Chinese-language newspaper well-known for relying on second or third hand information and finally the newspaper version was re-posted by one of the two popular personalities above. The fake news now spread like wild fire.
The fake news party ended when the Inspector General of Police (IGP) came out publicly to refute the news as FAKE.
Well, to those happily joining the fake news party, beware.