Malaysia Grants MCMC Authority to Shut Down Social Media Accounts of Children Under 13

Malaysia empowers communications regulator to shut down social media accounts of children under 13, highlighting growing concerns over online risks for minors and the need for stronger protective measures.

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Wojciech Zylm
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Malaysia Grants MCMC Authority to Shut Down Social Media Accounts of Children Under 13

Malaysia Grants MCMC Authority to Shut Down Social Media Accounts of Children Under 13

In a significant move to protect children from the potential harms of social media, Malaysian Communications Minister Fahmi Fadzil announced in April 2024 that the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) has been granted the right to shut down social media accounts belonging to children under the age of 13. The decision comes after the MCMC deemed social media use unsuitable for this age group.

Minister Fahmi Fadzil emphasized that the MCMC found children under 13 are not appropriate for using any social media platforms, and most social media platform terms do not allow such groups to have accounts. He warned parents to inform the MCMC if their children under 13 have social media accounts, as the commission will take action to shut down those accounts.

Why this matters: This move by the Malaysian government highlights the growing concern over the impact of social media on young children and the need for stronger measures to protect them from potential online risks. It sets a precedent for other countries grappling with similar issues and may prompt further discussions on the role of governments and social media companies in ensuring a safer online environment for minors.

The MCMC has reminded parents to ensure that their children under 13 do not own any social media accounts, as most platforms, including TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram, do not permit teens of such age to sign up. Minister Fahmi explained that the issue lies in social media platforms allowing users to open accounts without proper age verification. To address this problem, his team has held meetings with companies like Meta, the parent company of Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, as well as Telegram.

The ministry anticipates making announcements regarding the outcomes of these discussions with social media platforms about online safety for children by early May 2024. Minister Fahmi expressed hope that these meetings will lead to concrete measures to tackle the ownership of social media accounts among children under 13.

"The MCMC reminded parents to ensure that their children under 13 do not own any social media accounts, as the commission found that it was not appropriate for children under 13 to use any social media," stated Minister Fahmi Fadzil. He further warned that if there are cases of children under 13 having social media accounts, parents should inform the MCMC, and the commission will shut down those accounts to protect the children from the potential harms of social media platforms.

Key Takeaways

  • Malaysia grants MCMC power to shut down social media accounts of children under 13.
  • MCMC deems social media use unsuitable for children under 13, warns parents to inform MCMC.
  • MCMC to shut down accounts of children under 13, as most platforms prohibit their use.
  • Malaysia holds talks with social media companies to address online safety for children.
  • This move sets a precedent for other countries to protect minors from social media risks.