Singapore's new fake news law to police chats

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  • 09 May 2019 12:00 AM
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Singapore Fake News Law Polices Chats and Online Platforms

Singapore passes the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation bill, introducing new legislation to tackle the spread of false information online. Under the new law, Singaporean authorities can publish corrections alongside claims about public institutions that it deems false. Those who publish false statements with “malicious intent” face criminal sanctions, including fines of up to S$1 million ($740,000) and jail sentences of up to 10 years. Singapore’s legislation will also apply to platforms with end-to-end encryption such as the Facebook-owned messaging app, WhatsApp. A spokesperson for Google, which has its Asia-Pacific headquarters in Singapore, said that the company was “working hard” to address misinformation and was “concerned that this law will hurt innovation and the growth of the digital information ecosystem.” The Singapore government has emphasised that the law would not be used to target opinions, but only falsehoods that could prove damaging. "Free speech should not be affected by this bill," Law Minister K Shanmugam told parliament, adding that the law is aimed at tackling "falsehoods, bots, trolls, and fake accounts".

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