Singapore, 23 March 2018 – Global tech giants’ officials of Facebook, Twitter and Google attended a parliamentary hearing on how Singapore plans to bring in a new law to tackle the threat of fake news, saying sufficient rules are already in place especially when it is particularly vulnerable to due to its size, role as a global financial hub and its ethnic and religious mix.
Lawmakers in the United States and Europe have called for probes into how Facebook allowed Cambridge Analytica to access data on 50 million users and use it to help the election campaign of US President Donald Trump.
Many of the examples of fake news, cited in a Singapore government paper on deliberate online falsehoods published in January, came from abroad.
These representatives of the tech giants were among 79 people asked to speak in parliament over the eight days set for the hearing. Singapore is among the countries looking to introduce legislation, so far unspecified, to rein in fake news, a trend that has stirred concern that such laws could be used to exert government control over the media. A parliamentary panel set up to consider possible measures, including legislation, drew 164 written responses from the public, a record for reactions to such a committee on any issue.
Singapore ranks 151 among 180 countries rated in the World Press Freedom Index of Reporters Without Borders, a non-government group that promotes freedom of information.