Experts: Awareness needed to stop misinformation on internet

The monetization system is working as the main driving force behind the spread of false information online, say experts

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File photo of BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia <strong>Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune</strong>

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Creating awareness is imperative as many people now get news from social media sites and often it can be difficult to tell whether stories are credible or not, say experts.

What is seen on social media's “news feed” is not news. But many people who are addicted to making money are now spreading various information on the internet. It has become a big challenge to identify which information is true and which is false, speakers told a webinar on Saturday.

The webinar, titled "Fake News on Social Media: Challenges and Things to Do" was organized by the National Committee on Cyber Security Awareness Month (CAM) -2021 in partnership with Dhaka Tribune.

A month-long awareness program was being conducted through mobile phone operator Robi Axiata Limited and technology service provider Cyber Paradise.


Absolutely false or half-truth information is deliberately spread. This is fake news. Misinformation, disinformation and malinformation - three types of information are harmful to society, said Dr Din M Sumon Rahman of the Department of Media Studies and Journalism at ULAB.

Another new word is midinformation, which is information that cannot be decided as completely correct or incorrect, he added.

Sumon also said that if any information is published on the internet, if the website is an established or mainstream news medium, it will not usually give wrong information. 

If any website has https: // at the beginning of the web address in the address bar, it can be considered safe, and if only http: //, that website is not safe, he added.

Abu Sayeed Asiful Islam, associate editor of Dhaka Tribune, said the monetization system is working as the main driving force behind the spread of false information on the internet. 

“This has now become a major hurdle in getting accurate information. I think that it is possible to solve this problem through joint efforts,” he added.

The internet is now an important weapon. Each of us, as a media worker or as a viewer-reader, has an important role to play in preventing the misuse of it and intentionally spreading misinformation to the detriment of society, said Asiful Islam.

According to him, when a newsperson receives any information, it is his duty to verify the information and make sure that the news is disseminated. Through this the viewer or reader will get the correct information and through this the society will benefit.

News portals can introduce a reader rating system in every news. Then conscious readers will be able to play a positive role in preventing intentionally leaked information, said Omar Farook Khandaker, joint convener of Cam National Committee and vice president of ISACA Dhaka Chapter.

Barrister Rashna Imam, member secretary of the committee and advisor to the Cyber Crime Awareness Foundation (CCA Foundation), moderated the webinar.

The CCA Foundation started celebrating Cyber Security Awareness Month internationally in 2004 and in Bangladesh since 2016.

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