Social media has revolutionized the connectivity between individuals all over the world. It is one of the most far-reaching sources of information and media, so it is no surprise that in today’s world news reaches people faster than ever before. The new law in Singapore enables the government to regulate news on social media. There is no denying the absolute success of social media, it has become a necessity of the modern world, however with the rise of social media there has been a steady rise of fake news as well. Fake news acts as threat to democracy, debate and order. Social media enables the spread of fake news as there is no established set of checks and corrections.
It is as simple to be equipped with an email id and false information to spread fake news. There have been turbulent information in recent times regarding substantial social media platforms misusing information and spreading fake news that it comes as no surprise that government bodies decide to step in to regulate the news present on social media. This is currently taking place in Singapore, despite protests from activists and social media platforms. The new law enables government ministers to demand online platforms to put warnings against any information they might deem false and in extreme situations have the information taken down. The law entails a fine up to SGD 1m (USD 720,000) and jail terms up to 10 years.
The new bill has activists worried that this might bring upon restriction on rights such as free speech and right to freedom of expressions and academics are worried that this might hinder academic freedom. Big tech companies who have their Asian headquarters in Singapore are worried as well, Google said the passing of the new legislation is likely to “hurt innovation and the growth of the digital information ecosystem”, but the law is a step towards setting up a system which ensures the regulation of the authenticity of the news which circulates within social media, which is one of the world’s influential source of media.
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