Explore ways to eliminate spread of fake news

Internet platforms including social media sites like Facebook will also be required to act swiftly to limit the spread of falsehoods by displaying corrections alongside such posts, or removing them.
Internet platforms including social media sites like Facebook will also be required to act swiftly to limit the spread of falsehoods by displaying corrections alongside such posts, or removing them.PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER

In a highly interconnected world, we have to do everything possible to ring-fence Singapore from fake news used by dark forces from both within and outside of the country (Jail, fine to curb fake news, April 2).

Case in point: Companies with advanced data analytics and autobots, such as Cambridge Analytica, can be used to influence hearts and minds and cause major upheavals to a country and its people.

Besides legislating against fake news, the authorities will have to step up their vigilance to stop the spread of fake news and ensure that it does not affect the security and stability of our country.

They will have to explore ways to eliminate fake news by blocking or tagging it wherever it appears in cyberspace.

They must also implement other initiatives to prevent fake news from being shared and, even if it has been shared, to ensure that it can continue to be tagged, deleted or corrected.

The relevant authorities can set up fact-checking systems, improve the way they communicate truths and respond promptly to reactions to fake news.

In the final analysis, educating people on how to conduct proper research, verify information, think critically and make better-informed judgments is our primary line of defence.

If the problem of fake news is not effectively prevented and tackled, we cannot have a healthy contest of ideas and a conducive environment to help us "achieve happiness, prosperity and progress for our nation".

Patrick Liew Siow Gian (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 04, 2019, with the headline 'Explore ways to eliminate spread of fake news'. Print Edition | Subscribe