Social Media Management Desk crucial in monitoring misinformation and fake accounts : Secretary Matainaho

Secretary  of  the Department of Information and Communication Technology Mr. Steven Matainaho,  has highlighted that the Social Media Management Desk  is a priority  for government , in  monitoring   misinformation,  and or fake news on   facebook accounts  and sites 

The social media desk is  an initiative of  the Minister for Information and Communication Technology Honorable Timothy Masiu, and was given approval by  Cabinet early this year.

Secretary Matainaho  highlighted  these, during the Ministerial Committee  on  ICT for  COVID-19 with stakeholders in Port Moresby recently, adding, “we need to have an official registered desk, and that is what the Department of ICT   has embarked on.”

“There are a  number  of functions in the Social Media Management Desk that we are operating,  and we are asking for all public entities to give their official domain names and their social media accounts because Facebook required that for us to take down fake Government pages.

Meanwhile, an officer  has  been  engaged  to manage the  Social Media Management Desk , and  is currently  registering  fake Government pages and misinformation.

“We are now working on daily basis to ensure we take down pages that are spreading false or inaccurate information that are of concern to the Government.

“For  instance,  for the Prime Minister’s  pages alone, we take down about five to ten pages per week , and we have found out that  the same  people are going about creating fake accounts again and circulating fake government news and information”, he added.

He said that this was  just the tip of an iceberg because the Department has not touched on actual posts, which is misinformation in the space of cyber bullying and cyber harassment.

“We have direct contact with Facebook , and  have   recently  reported  incidents to them and they have  responded  favourably  in taking down misinformation and fake pages.”

Mr Matainaho  added that  misinformation’s pertaining to the Covid-19 vaccines on facebook pages  are being taken down.

“These are posts on pages that are against the  vaccines.”

“ Our challenge now is the coordination of how we can be able to get factual information to the populous in one clear message.”

Secretary Matainaho stressed that  the department  will install a social media tool kit, to  help  track  trends of misinformation, adding, a report will   also be  provided to the Department of Prime Minister and National Executive Council on the progress of the social media management desk.

“There is a work in progress to widen the Social Media Management Desk to monitor fake Government Facebook pages and misinformation Both misinformation and fake pages will be taken down systematically,” he added.