Fake news boom, and can we mitigate it?
Fake news is a thorny issue. The problem is amplified with social networks globalising digital communications. A study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology indicates that with more people relying on online platforms for social interaction, false information spreads more rapidly on social networks than real news does. For instance, fake news stories are 70% more likely to be retweeted and can reach viewers ten to twenty times faster than facts on Twitter.
In Southeast Asia, the rise in digitalisation has grown in tandem with the proliferation of fake news. Today the region is home to millions of avid smartphone users. It is estimated that 68% of the region’s total population are social media users and young people between 16-24 years old are spending an average of more than 10 hours per day on the internet. This makes the region a perfect breeding ground for fake news.
Source: Martinus, M. (2023, February 15). Can ASEAN mitigate fake news in Southeast Asia? Fulcrum. Retrieved February 24, 2023, from https://fulcrum.sg/aseanfocus/af-can-asean-mitigate-fake-news-in-southeast-
In the ASEAN countries, governments have enacted various types of fake news laws to curtail the spread of fake news, namely to prevent the proliferation of harmful information and preserve national security. With the excerpt in mind, examine the impact of fake news on digital media users and the available laws in Singapore that govern against it. Discuss the benefits and dangers of regulating fake news on digital media and analyse whether a government can implement a self-regulatory model to promote responsibility among users. Give examples from Singapore and other countries in your essay.
Research and Content (80 marks)
Language and Structure of Essay (10 marks) Proper Referencing and Citations (10 marks)
Word count limit: 1500 words (excluding the list of references). Report the word count at the end of your answer. Marks will be deducted for excessive length.
Note on excessive length: Up to 5 marks may be deducted for students who exceed the word count.
Answers on Media Law and Ethics
Answer 1: There are significant challenges from fake news especially from the point of view of digital media and social networks. The major challenges are in the form of rapid spread of all information, and fake news also generates a higher level of engagement as well because of their sensational nature. In addition to this, fake news also has the potential to adversely affect the level of trust of people over the media sources.
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