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WorldSingapore fake news law: Facebook, Twitter and Google push back

19:55  09 may  2019
19:55  09 may  2019 Source:   cnn.com

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A controversial law designed to stem the flow of misinformation online in Singapore could damage the city state's reputation for innovation.

Government hearings in Singapore put Facebook under intense scrutiny and have paved the way for a new fake news law in the country. The hearings, held in March, came at a time when Facebook , Twitter , and Google were facing an unprecedented challenge and being summoned by governments

Singapore fake news law: Facebook, Twitter and Google push back© Ore Huiying/Bloomberg via Getty Images Google opened its Asia-Pacific headquarters in Singapore 2016. The company expressed concerns about the country's new law on Thursday.

A controversial law designed to stem the flow of misinformation online in Singapore could damage the city state's reputation for innovation.

Google, Facebook, and Twitter voiced their reservations on Thursday about the statute after it was approved by lawmakers in Singapore. The new law criminalizes the spread of "false statements of fact," as defined by the government.

Critics argue the law will hurt freedom of speech by forcing social media platforms to censor users in order to avoid potential fines.

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Singapore ’s anti- fake news law will have a ‘chilling effect’ on press freedom, says Human Rights Watch. Technology giants including Google and Facebook have said they see the law giving Singapore ’s government too much power in deciding what qualifies as true or false.

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Google, which has its Asia headquarters in Singapore, says it was "concerned that this law will hurt innovation" and that "how the law is implemented matters."

Simon Milner, vice president of public policy at Facebook, said the company remains "concerned with aspects of the new law" and hopes the government will take a "proportionate and measured approach" in applying the rules.

Twitter, which said it has privately raised its concerns with the government, also expressed uncertainty about how "the full extent of the law" would be enforced.

A company spokesperson said that it would watch if "the concerns carefully articulated by academics, journalists, and civil society groups in Singapore and around the world over recent weeks will be addressed appropriately."

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SINGAPORE —Tech giants such as Facebook Inc., Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Twitter Inc. would be required under a draft law introduced Monday in The legislation is some of the most potentially sweeping anywhere against so-called " fake news ’’ and would set a precedent for the global issue

Singapore 's ' fake news ' bill is bad news for Facebook . Analysis by James Griffiths, CNN. As well as general free speech concerns, it will also raise serious questions for international tech and media companies which call Singapore home, including Facebook , Google and the BBC, all of which have

The law criminalizes false statements that threaten Singapore's national security, "public tranquility" and the "friendly relations of Singapore with other countries."

It also seeks to prevent users from inciting hatred online, or acting to diminish public confidence in the government.

Companies found guilty of spreading "fake news" can face fines of up to 1 million Singapore dollars ($733,000).

The new rules, which were approved on Wednesday, pose a fresh challenge to social media companies that have been under pressure around the world to crack down on misinformation and offensive content.

Last month, the governments of New Zealand and France summoned major tech CEOs to meet with them in Paris to discuss ways to end extremist activity online. That summit is scheduled for next week.

"The intensity of the debate over the last few weeks has highlighted the need for a full and transparent public consultation," a Google spokesperson said Thursday.

"Misinformation is a challenging issue and we are working hard to address it," the spokesperson added.

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Facebook should be punished, not broken up.
Commentary: Facebook screwed up. Big time. But breaking it up won't fix that.

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