Report “Fake news”

Any individual or organization may report “fake news” in two ways:

  • Using the contact forms of any of the government agencies (if the “fake news” is related to their sectors (e.g., Health, Transport, Education, etc.).
  • If the “fake news” is serious and threaten the stability and security of the country or the citizens it should be report it to the Ministry of Interior or National Cybersecurity Authority (NCA).

What is “Fake news”?

The Internet and social media is a primary source of information for many people. Many people have their primary source of information in their news feeds on their social media accounts. Often, people may not know whether the information they are reading is accurate or not. The fast technological development enabled easy creation and quick spread of information which is not necessarily correct or true.

The issue of “fake news” or “false information” is complex. Most of the information that is shared on social media might be accurate, but in most cases is not. “fake news” or “false information” is fabricated news, stories, or hoaxes, intentionally designed to mislead the reader with incorrect facts, arguments, rumors, half-truths, or lies to influence public opinion, or simply, intentionally produced as ‘clickbait’ for gaining economic benefits.

There are various types of “fake news”, such as clickbait (fabricated stories with usually sensational titles, aimed to gain more website visitors for economic purposes), misleading headings (stories that are not necessarily completely false but use sensational headlines to attract more visitors), imposter content (when genuine sources are impersonated and the information is presented as it comes from a credible news source, which in fact is not), propaganda (stories created to mislead readers, often used to promote particular political views or agenda), parody or satire (fake news for entertainment and parody, usually not intended to cause any harm, but often has potential to fool particular person or specific groups in the society, manipulated content (when genuine information or imagery is manipulated to deceive), and many others.

Government Response to “Fake News”

The creation and dissemination of “fake news” using Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is considered a cybercrime as per the Anti-Cyber Crime Law in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Any individual or organization creating or disseminates information that is not true or spreads rumors aimed at misleading citizens may be prosecuted and fined. Additionally, any organization, all media companies and social media platforms must take every necessary measure to detect and flag the potential “fake news” and, if necessary, remove such news from their platforms.

The Digital Government Authority (DGA), Saudi Data & AI Authority (SDAIA), National Cybersecurity Authority (NCA), Communications, Space and Technology Commission (CST), and the Ministry of Interior, is working closely together to develop a regulatory framework to prevent creation and dissemination of the “fake news.” This framework will include obligations for all media providers and social media platforms to take necessary actions to avoid disseminating “fake news.” Several government authorities are currently exploring using AI tools to detect and flag fake news.