The Ministry of Communications and Multimedia (KKMM) has denied allegations that it has made it compulsory for the ministry’s staff to like and share the social media accounts of its minister and deputy minister.
KKMM in a statement today said Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah had not issued such a directive.
“The ministry always encourages the participation of its staff in supporting the dissemination of information to the public, including through social media platforms,” read the statement.
Screenshots of text messages allegedly containing the instruction to ministry staff as well as departments and agencies under KKMM to like or follow the social media accounts of its minister and deputy minister went viral on social media yesterday.
Facebook user Nazrin Norani, who is believed to be an activist, uploaded the images on his account and questioned the ministry for issuing such an order.
“Since when does an employer have the right to force employees into liking their pages? Aren’t social media accounts the private property of the respective employees? They do not belong to the employer.
“And in the case of staff members who do not have social media accounts, they are ordered to open accounts with Facebook, Instagram and Twitter,” claimed Nazrin.
Nazrin attached three screenshots of a Whatsapp message that purportedly came from the ministry, saying that they were shared with him by a friend.
“Thus, heads of departments and units are requested to monitor and ensure that all their staff members have ‘liked’ or ‘followed’ the stated social media accounts,” the message read.
The head of departments and units were also required to fill a form to prove that they had carried out the monitoring.
Following the viral Facebook post, Malaysiakini spoke to several Communications and Multimedia Ministry staff members and found that the order was first issued about a week ago.
The civil servants confirmed there was such an order but requested to remain anonymous as they were not authorised to speak to the media.
They said the instruction was issued to all agencies, including the ministry’s media arms, Bernama and RTM, and it applied to all staff, including journalists attached to bureaus nationwide.
One of them said that staff members were told to list the URL for their social media accounts so that the accounts can be checked if they have obeyed the orders to “like” and “follow”.
“For me, I have no problem doing it, because it does not cost me anything. But the issue is with privacy.
“Personal social media accounts are supposed to be, well, personal. Thus, many are unhappy with the order,” said a second employee.
Another source, who is attached to an office outside the Klang Valley, told Malaysiakini that the order was conveyed to them through their supervisor at the state office.