DIANA JABLONSKI WRITES — A total of 249 Malaysians and foreigners have been arrested in Malaysia for being suspected of recruiting terrorists through the use of social media.

Social media platforms that were used include Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. According to Deputy Home Minister Masir Kujat, 240 of those suspected where able to carry out their mission using Facebook, eight using Twitter and one via Instagram. He stated to Parliament: “The arrests were made as a result of police intelligence and monitoring by the Counter Messaging Centre,”

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun stated that the department’s Counter Messaging Centre (CMC) was used to discover the identities of the suspects. “We will continue to monitor all Facebook accounts and social networking activities carried out by some of these flagged accounts and trace back to the holders,” he said. The CWC has been assisting police with monitoring social media accounts posts relating to terrorism or threats made against the security of the country.

The government claims it has become stricter with monitoring social media accounts in order to prevent possible acts of terrorism. The minister informed the public that the government was monitoring 3,871 Facebook accounts, while 800 other accounts have been blocked to stop the spread of extremist views. Kujat stated, “On Twitter, 76 individuals were monitored and nine accounts blocked,” he added. Also, 72 Instagram accounts are being closely monitored for posts relating to terrorism.

Malaysia’s government took action to prevent those spreading terrorism on the internet. So far, a total of 19 foreigners have been sent to undergo deradicalization using a program established under the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2015 (POTA). “The success of this programme will soon be seen as the released prisoners will return to the community and be no longer involved with terrorism,” said Kujat.

Or so the government would have its people hope.

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