REPUBLIC OF SINGAPORE
GOVERNMENT GAZETTE
ACTS SUPPLEMENT
Published by Authority

NO. 26]Friday, June 28 [2019

The following Act was passed by Parliament on 8 May 2019 and assented to by the President on 3 June 2019:—
Protection from Online Falsehoods
and Manipulation Act 2019

(No. 18 of 2019)


I assent.

HALIMAH YACOB,
President.
3 June 2019.
An Act to prevent the electronic communication in Singapore of false statements of fact, to suppress support for and counteract the effects of such communication, to safeguard against the use of online accounts for such communication and for information manipulation, to enable measures to be taken to enhance transparency of online political advertisements, and for related matters.
Be it enacted by the President with the advice and consent of the Parliament of Singapore, as follows:
PART 1
PRELIMINARY
Short title and commencement
1.  This Act is the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act 2019 and comes into operation on a date that the Minister appoints by notification in the Gazette.
General interpretation
2.—(1)  In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires —
“Account Restriction Direction” means a direction issued under section 40;
“authorised officer” means a police officer, a public officer or an employee of a statutory board authorised under section 55;
“bot” means a computer program made or altered for the purpose of running automated tasks;
“Competent Authority” means the Competent Authority appointed under section 6;
“computing resource service” means a service that provides the use of any computer hardware or software to enhance the processing capability or storage capacity of a computer;
Examples
     Examples of computing resource services are cloud computing and data centre services.
“coordinated inauthentic behaviour” means any coordinated activity carried out using 2 or more online accounts, in order to mislead end‑users in Singapore of any internet intermediary service as to any matter, but excludes any activity carried out using online accounts —
(a)that are controlled by the same person; and
(b)none of which is an inauthentic online account or is controlled by a bot;
“Correction Direction” means a direction issued under section 11;
“Declaration” means a Declaration made under section 32;
“declared online location” means an online location that is the subject of a Declaration that is in effect;
“digital advertising intermediary” means any person who, in the ordinary course of business, facilitates the communication of paid content in any place by acting as the link or part of the link between —
(a)the owners or operators of online locations; and
(b)advertisers and service providers,
by means of an internet‑based service;
Examples
Examples of digital advertising intermediaries are persons who provide any of the following by means of an internet‑based service:

    (a)  advertising exchange;

    (b)  demand side platform;

    (c)  supply side platform.

“Disabling Direction” means a direction issued under section 22;
“General Correction Direction” means a direction issued under section 23;
“IMDA” means the Info‑communications Media Development Authority established by section 3 of the Info‑communications Media Development Authority Act 2016 (Act 22 of 2016);
“inauthentic online account” means an online account that is controlled by a person other than the person represented (whether by its user profile, unique identifier or other information) as its holder, and the representation is made for the purpose of misleading end‑users in Singapore of any internet intermediary service as to the holder’s identity;
“internet access service provider” means an internet access service provider licensed under section 5 of the Telecommunications Act (Cap. 323);
“internet intermediary” means a person who provides any internet intermediary service;
“internet intermediary service” means —
(a)a service that allows end‑users to access materials originating from third parties on or through the internet;
(b)a service of transmitting such materials to end‑users on or through the internet; or
(c)a service of displaying, to an end‑user who uses the service to make an online search, an index of search results, each of which links that end‑user to content hosted or stored at a location which is separate from the location of the index of search results,
but excludes any act done for the purpose of, or that is incidental to, the provision of —
(d)a service of giving the public access to the internet; or
(e)a computing resource service;
Examples
     Examples of internet intermediary services are —
     (a)  social networking services;
     (b)  search engine services;
     (c)  content aggregation services;
     (d)  internet‑based messaging services; and
     (e)  video‑sharing services.
“material” means anything that consists of or contains a statement;
Examples
     Examples of a material are a message, a post, an article, a speech, a picture, a video recording and a sound recording.
“MMS” means a system that enables the transmission, through a mobile network, of multimedia messages;
“online account” means an account created with an internet intermediary for the use of an internet intermediary service;
“online location” means any website, webpage, chatroom or forum, or any other thing that is hosted on a computer (as defined in the Computer Misuse Act (Cap. 50A)) and can be seen, heard or otherwise perceived by means of the internet;
“paid content” means any statement that is communicated in any place for consideration;
“Part 3 Direction” means a Correction Direction or a Stop Communication Direction;
“Part 4 Direction” means a Targeted Correction Direction, a Disabling Direction or a General Correction Direction;
“prescribed digital advertising intermediary” means a digital advertising intermediary, or a class of digital advertising intermediaries, prescribed by regulations made under section 62;
“prescribed internet intermediary” means an internet intermediary, or a class of internet intermediaries, prescribed by regulations made under section 62;
“Remedial Order” means an order made under section 24(4);
“service provider” means any person (other than a digital advertising intermediary) who, in the ordinary course of business, provides advisory or other services relating to the communication of paid content in any place;
“SMS” means a system that enables the transmission, through a mobile network, of text messages;
“statement” means any word (including abbreviation and initial), number, image (moving or otherwise), sound, symbol or other representation, or a combination of any of these;
“statutory board” means a body corporate or unincorporate established by or under any public Act to perform or discharge a public function;
“Stop Communication Direction” means a direction issued under section 12;
“Targeted Correction Direction” means a direction issued under section 21;
“telecommunication service” has the meaning given by section 2 of the Telecommunications Act.
(2)  In this Act —
(a)a statement of fact is a statement which a reasonable person seeing, hearing or otherwise perceiving it would consider to be a representation of fact; and
(b)a statement is false if it is false or misleading, whether wholly or in part, and whether on its own or in the context in which it appears.
(3)  In this Act, a person has editorial control over an online location if the person is able to decide one or both of the following:
(a)whether any statement may be included or excluded on the online location;
(b)where to place any statement on the online location.
Meaning of “communicate”
3.—(1)  In this Act other than in Part 2, a statement or material is communicated in Singapore if it is made available to one or more end‑users in Singapore on or through the internet.
(2)  In Part 2, a statement is communicated in Singapore if it is made available to one or more end‑users in Singapore on or through —
(a)the internet; or
(b)MMS or SMS.
(3)  A reference in this Act to communicating a statement or material in Singapore includes causing its communication (within the meaning of subsection (1) or (2), as the case may be) in Singapore.
Meaning of “in the public interest”
4.  For the purposes of this Act and without limiting the generality of the expression, it is in the public interest to do anything if the doing of that thing is necessary or expedient —
(a)in the interest of the security of Singapore or any part of Singapore;
(b)to protect public health or public finances, or to secure public safety or public tranquillity;
(c)in the interest of friendly relations of Singapore with other countries;
(d)to prevent any influence of the outcome of an election to the office of President, a general election of Members of Parliament, a by‑election of a Member of Parliament, or a referendum;
(e)to prevent incitement of feelings of enmity, hatred or ill‑will between different groups of persons; or
(f)to prevent a diminution of public confidence in the performance of any duty or function of, or in the exercise of any power by, the Government, an Organ of State, a statutory board, or a part of the Government, an Organ of State or a statutory board.
Purpose of Act
5.  The purpose of this Act is —
(a)to prevent the communication of false statements of fact in Singapore and to enable measures to be taken to counteract the effects of such communication;
(b)to suppress the financing, promotion and other support of online locations that repeatedly communicate false statements of fact in Singapore;
(c)to enable measures to be taken to detect, control and safeguard against coordinated inauthentic behaviour and other misuses of online accounts and bots; and
(d)to enable measures to be taken to enhance disclosure of information concerning paid content directed towards a political end.
Appointment of Competent Authority
6.—(1)  For the purposes of this Act, the Minister may appoint as the Competent Authority —
(a)a statutory board; or
(b)the holder of any office in the service of Government or a statutory board.
(2)  The Competent Authority must give effect to the instructions of the Minister and any Minister where prescribed by this Act.