At a glance: Singapore's proposed rules to reduce online harm

The new rules are aimed at codifying standards in law and giving authorities powers to take action against platforms that fail to meet requirements. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The Ministry of Communications and Information is currently conducting consultations with the tech industry and the public on new codes of practice for social media platforms.

When passed, the Code of Practice for Online Safety and the Content Code for Social Media Services will require platforms to implement safety standards and content moderation processes to minimise users' risk of exposure to harmful online content like terrorist propaganda.

The platforms will also need to ensure additional safeguards for users who are under 18 years old, including tools to help them or their parents minimise their exposure to inappropriate content such as sexual or violent videos, and unwanted interactions like online stalking and harassment.

The new rules are aimed at codifying these standards in law and giving the authorities powers to take action against platforms that fail to meet the requirements. They are expected to be added to the Broadcasting Act.

The ministry has not released many details on the specific stipulations of the codes as they are still being developed in collaboration with the tech industry, though it has said the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) will be empowered to direct social media services to disable access to harmful online content for Singapore users.

Platforms will also be required to produce annual accountability reports to be published on the IMDA website.

These reports will need to include metrics to show the effectiveness of their systems and processes.

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