Singapore MPs attend inaugural hearing of fake news in London
PUBLISHED ON 30 Nov 2018
Senior Minister of State for Law and Health Mr Edwin Tong said it is timely for tech companies to take some responsibility and address the issue of disinformation and fake news, as countries around the world continue to tackle the problem.  

Mr Tong made this comment where he attended the International Grand Committee on Fake News and Disinformation in London on 26 November 2018. He was joined by fellow Members of Parliament, Ms Sun Xueling and Mr Pritam Singh. The trio are also members of the Select Committee on Deliberate Online Falsehoods.

During the hearing, the three MPs posed a number of questions to Mr Richard Allan, Facebook's vice-president of policy solutions. Specifically, Mr Tong asked why the social media company initially refused to take down a hate post in Sri Lanka during a period of religious violence and anti-Muslim riots in March. Mr Allan admitted that it was a mistake.

Other questions raised included how Facebook would work with authorities to take down false information and close accounts that put out fake news, as well as how the social media giant is dealing with the possibility of elections of being tampered with.

The hearing took place in the British Parliament and involved 24 parliamentarians from nine countries, including Singapore.

"The committee has brought together members from different jurisdictions from countries facing the same kind of issues, same problems with fake news that we've had, and grappling with it from different perspectives and having different ideas as to how to deal with it. So to that extent, it's very useful for Singapore to be part of it and to be involved and engaged in discussion with the rest of the members of the committee," Mr Tong said.