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Fake news laws passed by the Singapore Parliament without any amendments

After a debate that went on for two days, The Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Bill was passed by the Singapore Parliament without any amendments.

The laws were at the centre of a certain amount of controversy and saw several stakeholders, including politicians and the legal community, voicing their concerns.

Presented as a bulwark against fake news, the laws allow ministers in the government to take action against what they consider to be false and misleading content, meaning politician can order content to be taken down or amended.

The minister’s decision can subsequently be appealed in a court of law.

The bill has serious implications for social media platforms. They are expected to disable accounts deemed to be spreading online falsehoods and to take down offending content.

There are fines of up to $1 million for firms that fail to comply. Taking content down stands in opposition to Facebook’s stated position of only removing posts that incite violence or are likely to affect election outcomes.

The social media network recently announced the extension of its fact-checking network to Singapore. It also said it would de-prioritise news that was deemed false, carry clarifications from fact checkers in the related links and alert its users when they were sharing content that had been flagged as false.

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