The Straits Times says

Moves to fight fake news a timely step

Consider this: What if there was no highway code for drivers? Or no regulatory standards for medicines, electrical products and baby food? Manufacturers are free to do as they like with no responsibilities, or fear of penalties, when things go wrong. Terrible as it sounds, this unfettered state of affairs was until recently characteristic of what went on in the world of social media.

For a long while, the likes of Facebook, Google and Twitter insisted they bore no responsibility for content on their platforms, as they were mere conduits, not publishers. They also claimed they could be relied on to fix the problems that arose on their own. Algorithms selecting news to be served to readers have given rise to so-called echo chambers and filter bubbles. Disinformation and fake news led to not just electoral manipulation but also hate crimes and mob lynchings; churches, mosques, synagogues and temples have been attacked; public health and social peace compromised by religious radicals and political partisans.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 10, 2019, with the headline 'Moves to fight fake news a timely step'. Print Edition | Subscribe