Sunday, March 26, 2023

[Updated] “Do you remember 13 May 1969?” Videos suggesting racial riots will break out goes viral on TikTok

News "Do you remember 13 May 1969?" Videos suggesting racial riots will...

The 13 May 1969 incident is the bloodiest and darkest period in Malaysian history. It is also the biggest racial crisis seen in the country’s history, where the onslaught broke out after the Opposition parties won several seats in the general election at the expense of the ruling coalition.

While no Malaysian wishes for such an incident to happen again, it appears that some Malaysians are ‘warning’ of the possible repeat of the deadly 13 May 1969 race riots on TikTok.

“An Anwar-owned Malaysia? Do you remember the 13 May 1969, incident?” a user said.

“Those who voted for PH, do they know about the 13 May 1969 incident?” another netizen said.

Anti-Chinese sentiment

According to Malaysiakini, none of these videos or their creators had identifiable links to one another but it appears that they are propagating a similar narrative targeted at the Malay-Muslim viewers, warning riots may happen if DAP is to become part of any government.

Meanwhile, Media watchdog Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) said its monitoring initiative had identified disinformation and polarising narratives on the 13 May incident, targeting DAP as alleged perpetrators, and Pakatan Harapan by extension.

“Significant engagement was seen on TikTok but it had also gone viral across platforms.”

“These narratives are inflammatory and are being used to create fear, and is pushing an anti-DAP (anti-Chinese) agenda while calling for mainly Perikatan Nasional (PN) to govern the country,” CIJ executive director Wathshlah Naidu said.

Not doing enough in countering hateful narratives

She also highlighted that there is a significantly lower but positive trend of internet users countering such hateful narratives.

“It demonstrates the critical need to be informed and progressive in thinking to withstand such targeted hate narratives,” she said.

Nonetheless, Wathshlah urged the relevant authorities, including the Communications and Multimedia Ministry to investigate this matter and counter the spread of such disinformation that could be deemed inciteful and likely to cause violence.

While the wounds we got from the 13 May racial riot healed, it is forever a scar that hurts Malaysians deeply. We hope that Malaysians will reconsider the content they are sharing online.

Meanwhile, TikTok Malaysia has emphasised its stance to have zero tolerance against any form of hate speech and violent extremism.

“As it relates to May 13 content, we quickly removed videos which were in violation of our Community Guidelines. We continue to be on high alert and will aggressively remove any violative content, including video, audio, livestream, images, comments, links, or other text,” it said in a statement.

“Our community members can also use our in-app reporting function to immediately report any harmful content. To do so, users can simply press and hold a video and a prompt will appear for users to click ‘Report’.”

“Since the lead up to the elections, we have been in constant communication with the relevant bodies, including the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), about accounts that are involved in severe or repeated on-platform violations.”

Stay tuned for more updates.

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