13 July 2022 

The Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) has launched a public consultation today to seek the public’s views on proposed measures to enhance online safety for Singapore-based users of social media services. 

Tackling harmful online content is a global issue. Countries such as Germany and Australia have enacted new laws that require online services to implement safeguards to limit the exposure to harmful content, while the United Kingdom and European Union are also drafting legislation to address this issue. 

Globally, there is widespread acceptance that services distributing online content have a responsibility to keep their users safe from harm. While many social media services have made efforts to address harmful content, the prevalence of harmful online content remains a concern. This includes content that: 

a.  Endorses acts of terrorism, extreme violence, or hateful acts against certain communities; 
b.  Encourages suicide and self-harm, including engaging in risky behaviours that threaten one’s life; 
c.  Threatens to destabilise one’s physical or mental well-being, through harassment, bullying, or the non-consensual sharing of sexual images. 

Enhancing online safety for Singaporeans is a priority for the Ministry. In June 2022, MCI announced that it is proposing for new Codes of Practice that would require designated social media services with significant reach or impact to have appropriate measures and safeguards to mitigate exposure to harmful online content for Singapore-based users. These include having community standards, content moderation processes and tools and options to manage users’ exposure to harmful content and interactions. Where harmful content remains on the service despite the social media services’ content moderation processes, users should be able to report such content to the services, for their assessment and action.

MCI takes a collaborative approach to strengthening online safety, working together with stakeholders in the people, private and public sectors. In tandem with our ongoing consultations with technology companies, MCI is embarking on this public consultation to gather feedback and suggestions from members of the public on shaping a safer online space through the proposed Codes of Practice. As part of this process, MCI will also be engaging key stakeholder groups, including parents, youths, community partners and academics. 

Further details of the proposed Codes of Practice can be found in MCI’s public consultation paper, which is published on the REACH website at Members of public are invited to submit their responses via the survey form on the REACH website by 6pm on 10 August 2022.

MCI will review all feedback received and refine its proposals where appropriate. A summary of the key feedback received and MCI’s response to the feedback will be published following the conclusion of the public consultation

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