Advisory on Online Conduct during Presidential Election
The Singapore Police Force (SPF) and the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) would like to remind members of the public to observe appropriate online conduct during the Presidential Election.
Singaporeans have the right to participate in online discussions on the Presidential Election, but should refrain from the following behaviours which may constitute offences under the law.
Misinformation and Disinformation in the Online Space
- During the election period, there will be a high volume of online campaigning and civic participation on social media and private messaging services. Members of the public should be cautious about the information and materials they receive during this period and be alert to misinformation. Persons with ill intent may create online posts containing falsehoods or manipulated content such as deepfakes, to deceive the public and influence the outcome of the election. There have been many examples of manipulated videos and photos to influence election outcomes elsewhere. These days, sophisticated tools and techniques are no longer needed to create such deceptive content.
Members of the public should take care not to post or share content containing falsehoods and misleading or manipulated content. If unsure about the content, do not forward or repost them. Instead, verify the information against official sources. The spread of misinformation and disinformation may affect the integrity of our Presidential Election.
Persons who spread misinformation and disinformation online may be liable for an offence of communicating false message under Section 14D of the Miscellaneous Offences (Public Order and Nuisance) Act 1906. Actions may also be taken against persons who have communicated online falsehoods or misleading or manipulated content under the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA) 2019. They may be liable for an offence under POFMA if they are found to have knowingly communicated these falsehoods.
Acts of harassment are punishable under the Protection from Harassment Act 2014. Members of the public are advised not to make online comments that may cause harassment, alarm or distress to another person. This includes online doxxing of persons by publishing the personal information of the person or persons related to him in order to harass, threaten or facilitate violence against them. Members of the public are advised to engage in online discussions on the Presidential Election in a civil manner.
Online Posts with Racial or Religious Connotations
Members of the public are advised not to make online posts with deliberate intent to wound the racial feelings of any person, or seek to promote enmity between different groups on grounds of race, nor to do acts prejudicial to maintenance of racial harmony, as they will constitute offences under the Penal Code 1871.
Members of the public are also advised not to engage in conduct that urges violence or incites hatred or ill-will on religious grounds or against other religious groups, as these may constitute offences under the Maintenance of Religious Harmony Act 1990. SPF will not hesitate to take firm action against offenders.
- The online space has become an important platform for communication and exchange of information. SPF and MCI would like to urge members of the public to engage in responsible online behaviour to safeguard the integrity of the Presidential Election.