Social media platforms must block harmful content under new codes in Singapore

Social media platforms may soon have to abide by directions by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) to take action against harmful content, such as those promoting sexual or self-harm. (PHOTO: REUTERS)
A public public consultation exercise on the proposed rules to protect users under the mooted "Content Code for Social Media Services" and "Code of Practice for Online Safety" found support from respondents. (PHOTO: REUTERS)

SINGAPORE — Social media platforms may soon have to abide by directions by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) to take action against harmful content, such as those promoting sexual or self-harm.

A public public consultation exercise on the proposed rules to protect users under the mooted "Content Code for Social Media Services" and "Code of Practice for Online Safety" found support from respondents, said government feedback portal Reach on Thursday (29 September).

The codes are set to come into effect as early as next year, after they are debated in Parliament, according to a report by The Straits Times,

The Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) had earlier shared information on the two proposed codes in June.

Under the draft rules, actions that the IMDA would be able to direct social media platforms to do include disabling access to certain content for users in Singapore, or preventing specific online accounts on these platforms from interacting with or communicating content to Singapore users.

MCI had earlier said that the proposals only covered social media platforms that allowed posting of content online aimed at getting interaction and links, and would not include messenger applications.

In a Facebook post on Thursday, Minister for Communications and Information Josephine Teo said, "Overall, respondents generally supported the proposals for designated social media services to have appropriate systems and processes in place to address harmful online content on their platforms, as well as additional safeguards for young users."

The public consultation on the proposed codes took place from 13 July to 10 August, Reach said. MCI also organised engagement sessions with parents, youths, community group representatives and academics.

In all, MCI received over 600 responses from stakeholders including the public, and community and industry groups.

More information on the proposed codes and public feedback can be found here.

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