All hands on deck to counter deliberate online falsehoods

While the state needs a strong hand, community efforts are key to dealing with the issue

Falsehoods producers are becoming more adept at using closed-group communication platforms such as WhatsApp, WeChat and Line to disseminate falsehoods among social networks, says the writer.
Falsehoods producers are becoming more adept at using closed-group communication platforms such as WhatsApp, WeChat and Line to disseminate falsehoods among social networks, says the writer.PHOTO: REUTERS

Last week, the Select Committee released a report on its recommendations for countering deliberate online falsehoods. The recommendations focused on disrupting online falsehoods, countering threats to national security and sovereignty, nurturing an informed public, promoting fact-checking, and reinforcing social cohesion and trust.

The virulent effects of the problem, as observed in the region and internationally, bring to mind what had happened in 2003. The severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) broke out in Singapore when a young woman who had been infected by the virus abroad set off a series of transmissions upon her return.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 28, 2018, with the headline 'All hands on deck to counter deliberate online falsehoods'. Subscribe