ONLINE FALSEHOOD

Nov 1, 2021 | 0 comments

Nov 1, 2021 | Essays | 0 comments

Online falsehood is an intentional spread of false information online with the intention of attacking either an individual or a public institution (Klein & Wueller, 2017). The aim of online falsehoods is to plant disharmony amongst different faction groups which include ethnic, religious and racial groups. Yuen-C (2018), defines online falsehood as an intentional publication of false content on the internet. It is on the public domain that parody and satire are protected by law, therefore, the fundamental legal analysis that is applied to arrive at the conclusion of falsehood information is often compelling and precise to the fact and is often analysed on a case by case form (Ong, 2018).
The incentive that drives the extent of online falsehood are neither exclusive nor contemporary but online falsehood is majorly used by the actors of foreign states that seek to sway crooked individuals in an attempt of making a quick buck and domestic politics have all contributed intentionally to fake news way before internet was discovered (Ong, 2018). The only noticeable changes are the intermediary at which the fake news spread as in the current world internet has been an effective medium as it provides the path which is efficient and which all the social media engine connects to. According to Hermesauto (2018), the capability of an online platform with its universality nature has enhanced the spread of falsehood news which can now reach virtually unrestricted audience within a short period of time and even in real time.
Levinson (2018), was of the opinion that enacting more laws to curb online falsehood does not offer a solution but it complicates the process as it causes a collision with the current laws. When more laws are enacted to control the online falsehood, there is a risk that it would compromise the freedom of speech and expression which is fundamental in the bill of right. Enacting a new law would restrict free speech and choke legitimate dissenting opinions (CNA/KK, 2018). The bill of rights takes precedence and in this matter, the new law would collide with the freedom of expression and speech which allows the citizens to air their views and opinion without fear of being prosecuted. Socially it’s healthy for society to accommodate various views as it enhances maturity and respect for humanity for who they are together with their opinion. In addition to this, the existing laws already inflict too much pressure on the freedom of expression and it’s adequate enough to tackle deliberate online falsehood (Baker, 2018).
Furthermore, the existing Singapore laws have comprehensively defined and elaborated on the demarcation of freedom of speech and expression in a way that it can cater for the online fake news menace. According to CNA/KK (2018), the existing law addresses defamation, hate speech as well as the spreading of false information all these laws are in Singapore laws under Telecommunication act, Maintenance of Religious Harmony Act, Penal code and Protection from Harassment Act. Baker (2018), stated the fact that it’s cumbersome to find a solution which in this case should be technical in nature to legislate the online platform, instead of enacting new laws there is a need for adopting an innovative and iterative way in approaching this issue.
Prescribing new laws will also mean that the internet service providers will be turned into judge as they would be liable to assess every speech to determine which one is acceptable under the new law a function which should be tackled by the courts with the use of the existing comprehensive legislation (Hermesauto, 2018).
On the other hand, enacting new laws to some extent is the only viable solution that needs to be considered if we are to tackle online falsehood. The virality nature of online falsehood and the gross impact it can create makes the current legislation ineffective and it can only be combatted by enacting new laws that are specific to it (Sen, & Yi, 2018). The current legislative tools are limited and rigid in the sense that it cannot tackle the speed and adaptability nature of the online falsehood in its current state. For instance Cambridge analytical has been accused of interfering with different elections on the basis of fabricated lies and disseminating to the mass, a good example is an American election. The damage done was so dire that according to the experts it influenced or subverted the majority will of the people through lies. According to Sen, and Yi (2018), the current judicial process takes time and it’s difficult to catch up with the speed and impact at which false news spread via internet and the impact is often irreversible hence a need for a new law that would act in a more accurate way to control the damage.
The social media companies or platforms are best placed to control the dissemination of the information on their platform, depending on the platform, they have control of their users and they are capable of getting the information (Levinson, 2018). Based on this fact to tackle falsehood online laws that would compel the online platforms like Twitter and Facebook to assess information online and eliminated any falsehood information should be enacted. The new laws should be that which is well calibrated to the extent that it would cover comprehensively a range of intentional online falsehoods. According to Sen and Yi (2018), the law should not be too broad but specific in nature so that it does not overlap with the freedom of speech in the bill of right. In other words, the focus of the new law should be on the dimension of issues caused by the technology rather than the new modules of illegal speech.
In conclusion, having considered both the argument, I am of the opinion that the current laws are enough and the best the best way to deal with the false news is self-regulation. The social media platforms should be encouraged to come up with an algorithm that is capable of identifying and eliminating the news which is considered to be fake. In addition to this, it is evident that false news has not just started recently it’s been there for ages the best way to tackle it is the rationality of the human mind. The major component in the fight against fake news is to feed our rationality with the adequate information which among them include the truth which will enlighten the citizen and this would mean fighting any effort by the government in ensuring the information do not reach the citizens. In addition to this when the government allows a citizen to access multiple sources of information, they will develop a critical mindset that will help them in assessing the truth from false and to a greater extent of whether the source of the information is independent or official.
*References*
Baker, J. A. (2018, March 28). Refresh current legislation rather than introduce new laws to deal with fake news, says, a legal expert. Retrieved from www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/eugene-tan-refresh-legislation-rather-than-new-laws-fake-news-10083758
CNA/KK. (2018, March 22). Deliberate online falsehoods: Are Singapore’s laws sufficient to deal with the threat? Retrieved from www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/deliberate-online-falsehoods-are-singapore-s-laws-sufficient-to-10043024
Hermesauto, H. (2018, March 27). No need for new laws to counter online falsehoods, activists tell Select Committee. Retrieved from www.straitstimes.com/politics/no-need-for-new-laws-to-counter-online-falsehoods-activists-tell-select-committee
Klein, D., & Wueller, J. (2017, May 01). Fake News: A Legal Perspective. Retrieved from www.kleinmoynihan.com/fake-news-a-legal-perspective/
Levinson, P. (2018, September 19). Government regulation of social media would be a ‘cure’ far worse than the disease. Retrieved from theconversation.com/government-regulation-of-social-media-would-be-a-cure-far-worse-than-the-disease-86911
Ong, J. (2018, March 27). Non-mainstream media journalists call for Freedom of Information Act to fight fake news. Retrieved from www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/independent-alternative-media-toc-fake-news-committee-10080122
Sen, N. J., & Yi, S. B. (2018, March 31). New law key to fighting viral online falsehoods. Retrieved from www.straitstimes.com/politics/new-law-key-to-fighting-viral-online-falsehoods
Yuen-C, T. (2018, March 31). Defining online falsehoods. Retrieved from www.straitstimes.com/politics/defining-online-falsehoods