Retail in Asia


Singapore government limits harmful online content

According to the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI), social media providers may soon be required to “limit access” to dangerous content or to block accounts that include such content.

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To improve online safety, the government is consulting on two proposed rules of practice. The first is that specified social media sites with a large audience or a high risk of abuse should have system-wide measures in place to improve online safety for all users, with special precautions for children under the age of 18.

The second proposal is for the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) to have the authority to order any social media provider to remove certain sorts of “egregious information.”

In March, Communications and Information Minister, Josephine Teo said that the government would implement new guidelines to prevent dangerous internet content on services available to Singaporeans.

According to the first guideline, social media platforms must have community standards and content moderation procedures in place and in use to “minimise users’ exposure” to dangerous content.

They should also give consumers options to help them limit and mitigate their exposure to harmful content.

Social media platforms should detect and remove child sexual exploitation and abuse content, as well as terrorism content, on a proactive basis.

Users should be able to report dangerous content and unwanted interactions, and this method should be simple to use and available at all times. When content is reported, social media sites must review it and take necessary action. They must also submit an annual accountability report to IMDA for publication.

On social media sites, the second suggested code of practice covers content areas deemed to be “egregious online harms.” These concerns include sexual harm, self-harm, and public health. Public security and racial or religious discord, or intolerance, are additional issues of concern.

“For the proposed content code for social media services, IMDA will be granted powers to direct any social media service accessible from Singapore to disable access to specified types of egregious harmful content or disallow specified online accounts to communicate such content and/or interact with users in Singapore,” said MCI.

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Industry consultations began this month and a public consultation will take place in July.