Tech companies committed to working with Singapore to combat deliberate online falsehoods

Tech companies committed to working with Singapore to combat deliberate online falsehoods

FILE PHOTO: A combination photo from files of Facebook Google and Twitter logos
Facebook, Google and Twitter logos are seen in this combination photo. (Photos: Reuters)

SINGAPORE: Facebook, Twitter and Google on Thursday (May 9) said they are committed to working with the Singapore Government to manage the spread of misinformation.

Their statements come a day after Parliament passed a Bill designed to tackle deliberate online falsehoods.  

The Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation (POFMA) Act was enacted on Wednesday following a two-day debate that lasted more than 14 hours.

READ: Parliament passes Bill to tackle online falsehoods after lengthy debate spread over two days

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Simon Milner, vice president of Public Policy, Asia Pacific at Facebook, said the social networking platform is committed to reducing the “spread of misinformation in Singapore and elsewhere”.

“We recently rolled out third-party fact checking in Singapore, which complements our work to disrupt coordinated inauthentic behavior and to create more transparency for political ads,” he said.

Mr Milner added that Facebook remains “concerned” with aspects of the new law which he said granted broad powers to the Singapore executive branch to “compel (Facebook) to remove content they deem to be false and to push a government notification to users”.

“We hope that reassuring ministerial statements lead to a proportionate and measured approach in practice,” he said.

A Twitter spokesperson said they are committed to working with the Government as well as all stakeholders to “serve and promote the health of the public conversation”.

"While the full extent of the law has yet to be revealed, we hope the concerns carefully articulated by academics, journalists, and civil society groups in Singapore and around the world over recent weeks will be addressed appropriately," the spokesperson added.

"We also hope the Singapore Government will take into account points we raised through our consultation process and that those recommendations can be reflected in the Codes of Practice, particularly the implications for freedom of expression and the potential for regulatory overreach."

READ: Workers' Party opposes online falsehoods Bill, says Pritam Singh

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A Google representative told CNA that misinformation is a challenging issue and that the company is working hard to address it.

“We remain concerned that this law will hurt innovation and the growth of the digital information ecosystem. How the law is implemented matters, and we are committed to working with policy makers on this process,” the spokesperson said.

Source: CNA/zl(mi)

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