Are Singaporeans vulnerable to fake news? 5 key themes from the public hearings on deliberate online falsehoods

Over three days last week, a group of men and women huddled in the new public hearing room in Singapore's Parliament House to discuss the issue of disinformation. A total of 24 speakers - from countries as far away as Ukraine to closer to home, Indonesia, as well as from Singapore - shared their experiences and research. They also shared suggestions on how the Republic can deal with the "threat of our times". Here are five key themes that emerged during the hearings, as well as through separate interviews with Insight.

With more people plugged into social media these days, it has become easier for fake news to spread. Falsehoods gain traction because they tend to be sensational and emotional, said Dr Carol Soon of the Institute of Policy Studies, and this can be us
With more people plugged into social media these days, it has become easier for fake news to spread. Falsehoods gain traction because they tend to be sensational and emotional, said Dr Carol Soon of the Institute of Policy Studies, and this can be used to create trouble between different communities. Many speakers at the public hearing recommended boosting media literacy efforts as part of measures to combat the fake news phenomenon.ST FILE PHOTO

Fake news is as attractive to consume as alcohol, sex and chocolates, with the truth coming a distant second, said Dr Carol Soon of the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS).

"Why do falsehoods gain traction? It is because they tend to be sensational and emotional," the senior research fellow told Insight.

Please or to continue reading the full article.

Get unlimited access to all stories at $0.99/month

  • Latest headlines and exclusive stories
  • In-depth analyses and award-winning multimedia content
  • Get access to all with our no-contract promotional package at only $0.99/month for the first 3 months*

*Terms and conditions apply.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on March 18, 2018, with the headline 'Tackling fake news'. Subscribe