PM Lee: 'Untruths spread through social media hard to correct'

PM Lee: 'Untruths spread through social media hard to correct'

SINGAPORE - Social media makes the work of governing harder as untruths spread quickly and are difficult to correct, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Tuesday night.

Communication is swift on social media, so when untruths or mistakes are circulated, they are far more difficult to correct than errors in newspapers or on television.

"On the Internet, you put one untruth or mistake out, (it) spreads all over the space. How do you send the truth chasing after the untruth... and catch up with it? It's quite a problem, not just in Singapore but all over the world. We have to think how we're going to deal with these things," he said.

The other problems linked to social media include online bullying, an area where the law has not caught up with technology, as well as the way a political leader's every move is judged instantly, as though in a 24/7 referendum.

But social media also enables people to share information, as some did during the recent haze crisis on where N95 masks were available.

Mr Lee said the flak directed at politicians online could also make would-be candidates and their families more reluctant to take the plunge into public life.

But a significant number of good people had been inducted in the last two elections, he said.

Giving names, he cited Education Minister Heng Swee Keat, Minister for Social and Family Development Chan Chun Sing, Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin, Acting Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong, Ministers of State Sim Ann and Desmond Lee and Ms Low Yen Ling, who will be appointed Parliamentary Secretary on Oct 1.

"They are a good team. They've learnt well, they've been plunged into very deep, very cold water but they've worked very hard, they've learnt fast.

"It still takes a while for people to... develop that familiarity and rapport with them but their hearts are in the right place and I think they are shaping up," he said.

He hopes to reinforce the team further in the next general election and added that he is focused on building up this team to succeed him and his peers.

"They will have to decide among themselves who will be their leader and then Singaporean voters will have to decide whether they want this team to be their Government," he said.

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