CYBERJAYA: In an effort to ensure that the public receives accurate information faster, Portal Sebenarnya.my, a one-stop centre developed to curb the spread of online fake news, has been expanded with a smartphone application. Communications and Multimedia (KKMM) Minister Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak said since the launch of the portal on March 14, last year, the website has recorded 25 million hits with an average of two million hits each month. "Analysis conducted through the portal saw an average 10% increase in visitors for each quarter. "The increase gives out a positive indication that Malaysians are getting increasingly aware of the culture of counter-checking, analysing and determining the type of news that they receive especially through credible channels," he said during his speech at the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) Tower, here, today. Salleh said the portal will also expand its current reach by utilising social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook , YouTube and Instagram. "The Portal Sebenarnya.my has over 100 strategic partners comprising 22 ministries and almost 100 agencies that cover numerous sectors and fields. "The sharing of information between agencies will enable quick response towards viralled news stories in less than 24 hours," he said. Stressing that the "fake news is country's enemy", Salleh said it can be seen as a psychological battle aimed at manipulating the people into believing false news as genuine. As the 14th General election looms, Salleh pointed out examples of fake news being spread such as the accusations by irresponsible parties on the influx of foreigners into the country to be made phantom voters; videos of foreigners being issued MyKads illegally; speculative news on the dissolution of Parliament to confuse the rakyat, and the sharing of supposed dates for the upcoming polls. "So it is important that we ensure the legitimacy of the news we receive. This can be done by examining the author first, examining whether the information is based on facts or otherwise as well as making comparisons with several different sources of credibility," he added. Last year, MCMC took action against 3,721 fake accounts in various social media platforms in which 80% of the perpetrators accounts were deleted for violating their terms and conditions. During the same period, 40 investigating papers were opened by MCMC for cases involving the spread of fake news on various social media and four cases had been brought to court. MCMC also held 561 awareness programmes through 18 strategic partners which reached about 1.5 million people last year. In addition to face to face campaigns, MCMC also held awareness campaigns through the Public Service Announcements (PSA) aired over television and radio with over 50,000 PSAs being aired via radio and televisions since March 14 last year until now. Spreading false news is a violation under Section 233 of the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission Act 1998 where those found guilty could be fined up to RM50,000 or face a maximum jail term of one year or both. On another matter, Salleh said the he proposed law to curb fake news has yet to be discussed at the cabinet level as Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said is in the midst of gathering views and feedback from the stakeholders on the proposal to draft the law on fake news. "Azalina is the chairman of the special committee formed to look into laws to curb fake news. I was informed that Azalina has met with relevant parties to get their feedback. "We have to determined that first before this issue is brought to the cabinet. In the meantime, Azalina should meet as many as possible stakeholders, to get their opinion on this matter," he added.