Channel NewsAsia

Facebook wants you to think twice before you hit 'Share'

A joint initiative encouraging users to be more conscious of the impact and implications of their online actions has been launched by the social network and Singapore's Media Literacy Council.

SINGAPORE: Growing up in the era where sharing content online is the norm, youths might be prone to posting content in a spur of the moment, which could be offensive or hurtful.

Such behaviour is what a joint initiative between Facebook and the Media Literacy Council (MLC) hopes to address, through an online resource guide to encourage social media users to think twice before sharing content on social media sites.

“Young people are pretty sophisticated about how to use their privacy controls, what they want to display and what they don’t want to display publicly. It is not that I think they don’t know how to (share content responsibly), I just think that reinforcing something that will ultimately become common sense and good sense needs to take place.” said Ms Marne Levine, Vice-President of Global Public Policy of Facebook, at the media briefing on the Think Before You Share initiative yesterday (July 7).

The initiative aims to remind social media users to make smart decisions about sharing information online, such as when posting personal information and images or sharing what other people have sent to the user. The guide also informs users of various avenues to seek help in situations where unwanted information about themselves have been shared online.

Professor Tan Cheng Han, chairman of the MLC, reiterated the importance of raising the awareness that the online world is not that different from the real world.

“For example, we would never allow our children to make friends with a stranger whom we don’t know and whom we have never met before. The same ought to be the case when our children start engaging in social networks - why should there be any difference?" he said.

“We tell our children to be careful about how they speak in public, and similarly how and what they share on social network is what (parents) should be educating them about. In other words, the daily things that good practice for the offline world are equally applicable for the online world.”

Ms Levine said that a series of workshops with educators and parents will be conducted, leading to the Safer Internet Day-a media literacy campaign spearheaded by the MLC — which is supported by the Media Development Authority — next February.

Singapore is the first South-east Asian country to launch the Think Before You Share guide. The guide has also been launched in four other countries: Canada, the Czech Republic, Australia and Hungary.

The guide can be assessed at

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