September 20, 2018 / 8:04 AM / 3 months ago

Singapore panel recommends regulation of tech firms over fake news

SINGAPORE, Sept 20 (Reuters) - A Singapore parliamentary committee said on Thursday the government should consider legislation to ensure technology companies rein in online fake news and that perpetrators are punished.

The committee, set up to make recommendations on fighting “deliberate online falsehoods”, said measures were needed as companies such as Facebook, Google and Twitter “have a policy of generally not acting against” content known to be false.

“The committee has not received any evidence that shows that the technology companies can or will effectively deal with the problem, without adequate legislation,” the committee said in a 300-page report.

“Criminal sanctions should be imposed on perpetrators of deliberate online falsehoods,” it said.

Neighbouring Malaysia’s opposition-led Senate blocked an effort to repeal a law against fake news this month, presenting the first major challenge for the new government of Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.

Facebook’s WhatsApp messaging platform in July published advertisements in key Indian newspapers to tackle the spread of misinformation there, its first such effort to combat a flurry of fake messages that prompted mob lynchings. (Reporting by John Geddie; Writing by Fathin Ungku; Editing by Nick Macfie)

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