ICMYI: The bill for fake news law in Singapore has been passed. You’ve heard so many things about the new law even when it was in proposal stage and everything sounds cheem. And two days ago, they announced the law would cover closed chat groups and social media groups, although how they are going to do it wasn’t addressed.
Senior Minister of State for Law Edwin Tong said, “Closed platforms, chat groups, social media groups, can serve as a public megaphone as much as an open platform.”
With so many cheem-a-logies being thrown around, what do you, as a millennial/Gen-Z, need to know about the new law?
You mean, I cannot have an opinion?!
You won’t be charged for voicing out an opinion. But, of course, there is a difference between an opinion derived from facts and an opinion that’s meant to stir s*** up. If you drew your conclusion from scientific research or comparing facts, you’re safe. If you post an opinion based on misinformation, you can be censured.
Can I make s*** up about my friend?
The new law covers topics that threaten national security, “public tranquility” and “friendly relations of Singapore with other countries”. Unless your friend is a minister or an important figure in Singapore’s national security, you won’t be prosecuted under this law—but we can’t guarantee you won’t be slapped with a defamation suit courtesy of your friend.
Wahlao… so the government can access to my social media accounts lah?
Maybe, maybe not. It was announced that the law extends to closed group chats and social media groups, even those with end-to-end encryption—which means, only the sender and recipient should be able to receive the messages. This basically refers to apps like WhatsApp and Telegram. CNN reported that Google, Twitter and Facebook have “voiced their reservations” about the new law. Under this new law, the social media companies have to censor their users/content that disseminate fake news or risk being fined up to $1 million. The social media companies can also be ordered to push out a “general correction order” to its users. It’s not clear how exactly content will be governed as the full framework hasn’t been announced. So we can’t tell you anything for now, really.
Uhh, so what now?
Until the full framework has been decided, there’s nothing much you can do. If you’re unsure whether what you post might get you into trouble, don’t comment on the government. Or anything to do with national security. Or anything that goes against public interest. Just post selfies lah.