Facebook users should be registered: Yay or Nay?

By Patricia Hului
[email protected]




Nangka assemblyman Dr Annuar Rapaee recently called for the enforcement of a regulation requiring all Facebook users to be registered.

He suggested the objective was to keep track of their online activities and that the move would also allow authorities to identify users who misuse social media to incite controversy.

Annuar was quoted saying, “I hope the government could impose such a regulation where all Facebook (users) are registered according to their mobile phones or identity cards.”

The biggest appeals of social media is the chance for everybody to become the star in their own life story, the sounding board it provides for one’s opinions, the ease it takes to share a joke, an inspirational story and yes, one’s griping of that day, with a few phrases and a single click on the ‘Share’ or ‘Post’ button.

When I asked around on Facebook the youths’ opinions on the prospect of having to be registered for a social media account, a handful of them gave their two cents but most wanted to remain anonymous.

One Facebook user who wanted to be identified as a man in his 20s from Bintulu said by doing so would be a breach of privacy.

“It is social media, why would you need to register your ID and so on?” he queried. “The government has a body to track down those who have misused the medium. You can actually track the IP address of the user and you’re on your way to finding his ID, home and so on.”

Hence, he believed the enforcement of such a regulation was not a necessary measure.

For ‘Esterynna’, she believed there was no valid reason to have our ICs or mobile phone numbers registered for social media.

“For me it is a breach of privacy as we don’t know exactly what they want to do with our particulars,” she said. “Even with banks or any insurance agencies, when we give our mobile contacts, suddenly other banks or insurance agencies have it.”

Furthermore, she does not see the relevance of registering one’s IC and mobile contact with the government as a security measure for Facebook users against scammers.

“Perhaps it will minimise those who use any media to scam people but media developers should be able to think of other means for security purposes.”



Ernabella Robin

As for student, Ernabella Robin, she believed that Facebook users should not be registered according to their mobile phones or identification cards, citing that to do so would be a breach of privacy.

Yet the 22-year-old final year multimedia computing student believed that social media users should remember one critical point: “Once you put your info online, you have to accept that it is not secure. Anything online is not secure.”

Facebook user ‘Ayee Mazlan’ emphasised knowledge was the key to curbing the issue of being the target of scammers.

“It is already 2016 and people still fall for internet scams. It does not mean we should or even could control the vastness of the worldwide web, people have to grow up and be smart and get offended less by trivial things,” he said.

He suggested to handle the misuse (of Facebook) and abuse on a case-by-case basis and not treat everyone like kids when other social media users carried on like adults.

“After all, the Internet is the last bastion of free speech in this world. We should not, and cannot be oppressive like North Korea, China and other oppressive regimes around the world, policing citizens’ thoughts in the name of curbing abuse.”

Meanwhile, Sylvester Chin commented that registering Facebook users was a means of suppression.

The 27-year-old teacher said: “The internet is the only place in the world our community can freely give out their ideas and criticism but still feel responsible for whatever is posted on the Internet.

“I believe we are mature enough to take care of ourselves and by no means to get into any trouble.”

Annuar  was not the first one to call on the registration of  all Facebook users in the country.

Last year Universiti Sains Malaysia Communication Studies Faculty senior lecturer Assoc Prof Mohamad Md Yusoff suggested all Facebook users in the country register their accounts with the Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to ease identification.

In response, Malaysian Mobile Content Providers Association (MMCP) president, Johary Mustapha said Malaysia required the cooperation of the Facebook server which operates in the United States of America to enable its people to register with MCMC.

“But logically, can this be implemented?” questioned Johary.

In a report by Bernama, the then Minister of Communication and Multimedia Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek stated it was impossible to register all Facebook users in the country.

“Logically, it is doable, but technically, challenges await because some individuals registered as social media users, such as Facebook, from overseas.”

“In fact, Facebook is not registered under the MCMC. The public needs to understand this.”

What do you think? Should we enforce the registration of Facebook users throughout Malaysia? Leave your comments in the comments box below.


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