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Technology, Politics, Society, Blackbox in the Media

Fake News Continues to Concern Singaporeans

In an article entitled “The Big Read: In an era of fake news, the truth may not always be out there” by TODAY which addresses the flourishing of fake news, Blackbox managing director and founder David Black shares his thoughts on what is fake news, and why its growing prevalence matters to Singaporeans. Select excerpts below:

Speaking to TODAY, Blackbox Research managing director David Black said a fake news item tends to be picked up and shared if it is perceived as “threatening the community or accepted moral standards”. Information on purported flouting of health and food regulations typically gains instant traction, said Mr Black, referring to the hoax circulating in January that FairPrice’s house brand of rice was made of plastic. The supermarket chain subsequently debunked the hoax on its Facebook page. “Singaporeans, like everyone on social media, typically assume prima facie accuracy when reading news within their personal and social space – on Facebook and Twitter news feeds as well as messaging apps,” Mr Black said. “People tend to trust their connections, which in turn diminishes their cognitive filters and critical thinking abilities, making social media feeds fertile ground for fake news to breed.”

Mr Black argued that bringing regulations up to speed with the new media environment was “inevitable”. “Unfortunately, technology is not yet at a point where it weeds out plain untruths,” he said. “The truth is that self-regulation and media literacy are ineffective tools against propaganda whose sole aim is to manipulate the truth.”