A public inquiry must be set up to investigate Meta’s report alleging the police are linked to a “troll farm” operating on Meta-owned social media platforms Facebook and Instagram.
This is because the police’s mere denial of the matter is insufficient and unconvincing, Iskandar Puteri MP Lim Kit Siang said.
“I call for a public inquiry headed by a judge or former judge to investigate the serious allegation levelled by Meta,” he said in a statement.
He also called on the police to state whether the force is willing to cooperate with the proposed inquiry, which would include inviting Meta to disclose evidence proving the force’s link to the troll farm.
A troll farm is an institutionalised group of internet trolls that seeks to interfere in political opinions and decision-making.
“While the deliberate spread of misinformation has been around for a long time, there is a major difference in the Internet era – with modern technology giving fraudsters the reach to instantly access millions of people and be rewarded for those minimal efforts.
“It would be a serious abuse and misuse of trust of the people if a government or a government department is involved in such a disinformation campaign.
“The government as the trustees of the people should not be involved in such disinformation programmes and this is why the Meta allegation must be taken seriously,” Lim said.
Meta, in its Quarterly Adversarial Threat Report, said last week that about 1,000 Facebook and Instagram accounts, plus Facebook groups and pages have been removed for violating the platforms’ policy against coordinated inauthentic behaviour.
It said it removed 596 Facebook accounts, 180 pages, 11 groups and 72 Instagram accounts for violating the policy.
It said the troll network originated in Malaysia and targeted domestic audience “to corrupt or manipulate public discourse by using fake accounts and misleading people about who is behind them”.
This includes posting memes in Malay “in support of the current government coalition, with claims of corruption among its critics,” read the Meta report.
“Although the people behind it attempted to conceal their identity and coordination, our investigation found links to the Royal Malaysia Police,” it said.
Although denying the claim, police said it was taking the allegation seriously and is gathering more information on the matter. – Malaysiakini