News:Singapore has passed the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act,2019.
Features of the Act:
- The act aims to control the spread of falsehood which the government deems to be a threat to national security, public tranquillity and Singapore’s friendly relations with other countries.
- The act enables the government to order social media websites to take down posts deemed to be false.
- It gives Singaporean ministers the power to decide whether content on the internet is considered a falsehood.The minister will need to explain why the statement is false.
- A falsehood is defined as a statement of fact that is false or misleading. However,the act’s definition of a falsehood is limited to a statement of fact and does not cover opinions, criticisms, satire or parody.
- Further,if a minister identifies a falsehood,the individual is issued a Stop Communication Direction to be complied with within a specified time period.
- Only when falsehood is spread with malicious intent do criminal sanctions apply.It provides for prosecutions of individuals who can face fines of up to S$50,000 and, or up to five years in prison.
- The act also provides for a set of binding Codes of Practice for technology companies covering three areas.
- The three areas are (a)inauthentic online accounts and bots (b)digital advertising transparency and (c)de-prioritising falsehoods will be applied to digital advertising intermediaries or Internet intermediaries.