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Singapore considers a war on fake news

Singapore’s new draft legislation targeting fake news, while sounding promising on the surface, opens up a range of significant issues and grey areas. “False statements of fact” would be illegal under the proposed law. Anti-censorship critics and supporters of freedom of speech worry that nobler conspiracy theories and strong opinions might be censured along with more blatant mistruths and hate speech, and that at any rate it shouldn’t government being the one with ultimate authority on deciding what gets a pass and what’s deemed unfit to be shared. The differences between misinformation, libel and things best not shared at all are open to question.

 

Who should judge?

 

Whether the likes of Google or national governments are better institutions for making tough judgment calls on what constitutes fake news or false advertising is a legitimate question. Whether news articles, social media posts and advertisements should come under the scrutiny of best practices, more stringent rules and regulations or actual laws is the question at hand. Current regulations in Singapore, as elsewhere, are already used to target certain forms of expression. Under the proposed legislation, additional stiff penalties a fine up to S$100,000 or, up to 10 years behind bars, or both, could be applied.

 

Digital mistruths to be targeted

 

The Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Bill certainly gives pause for thought on exactly what might or might not be info which is considered to be “prejudicial”, against “public tranquility”, against the spirit of “friendly relations” with other countries, or “an inauthentic online account or controlled by a bot”. Free speech, with effects on digital marketers’ spicier statements on the products and services they promote, could be muffled out of concern of not wanting to come anywhere close to being on the wrong side of the law. If the proposed law becomes official, digital marketers will likely have to find out for themselves exactly what will be allowed under the law.

 

The Human & Digital Communications Agency

Our award-winning communications team blends human interactions & digital engagement seamlessly to produce results for brands.

 

Best PR Agency Delivering PR | Social | Digital. 

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Brilliant content! But is it effective?

Communications professionals are losing confidence in their own messaging. Less than 10 percent of digital marketers view their own content as effective, according to a new study. In order for clients’ aspirations to be realized, a more efficient delivery on key goals is desperately needed. But given the disruptive uncertainties in terms of what actual audiences are and what they want, confidence in the tracking and effectiveness of the messages reaching them is likely to remain low.

 

How influential are today’s influencers?

 

Although PR industry professionals, companies and customers all see the value of content marketing, and all the more in the age of digital information, the problem is making and tracking effective messaging.

 

Even in an era where big data is beginning to yield a stunning array of numbers, much remains a mystery. How successful was that clever campaign in driving a company’s impressive profits? What’s the correlation between lower ROI and another campaign from another company that looked cool but is still ultimately hard to track? Would profits have been even lower without that campaign’s messaging, or did it in fact drive profits? Marketers simply cannot clearly differentiate successful campaigns from less effective digital messaging, and rely too much on circumstantial evidence like customer perceptions. The percentage of marketers lacking confidence in the effectiveness of their content has nearly doubled from around one third just two years ago to nearly two thirds today.

 

From e-disruption to a world of innovation

 

As always though, opportunity knocks. To the integrated online marketing teams that can track and broadcast the effectiveness of their messages in reaching the right audiences and delivering desired results, great long-term rewards await.

 

The Human & Digital Communications Agency

Our award-winning communications team blends human interactions & digital engagement seamlessly to produce results for brands.

 

Best PR Agency Delivering PR | Social | Digital. 

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News designed to confuse and mislead

Misinformation has always been with us, but has never before had so many many real chances for liftoff.

 

Skeptical thinking and critical reasoning have taken a hit in an era when trust is just as important as ever, yet taken for granted when so much information is presented authoritatively. We’ve become lazy at fact checking – not that it was ever easy. Truth and lies mingle on digital platforms brimming with immediacy and confidence, working to state with authority that the information they help get across is accurate. Although we know this is not always the case, seeing is often believing. Over 60% of respondents in a recent survey expressed difficulty distinguishing fact from fiction in the news that they are consuming. Another report finds that seven out of 10 times, fake news ends up being retweeted than verifiable stories. Even when we try to distinguish what’s real, fiction ends up being more entertaining and worthy of sharing.

 

Freedom of expression and censoring where needed

 

YouTube is widely appreciated for its usefulness in providing free entertainment, though often raises concerns related to intellectual property and profit. The video-sharing site is also awash in conspiracy theories that can get users thinking at best, and believing in mistruths and engaging in dangerous activities at worst. Misinformation is everywhere, and it takes a lot of effort to get to the truth sometimes. Facebook’s iffy algorithms may end up isolating posts when they are found to be based on inaccuracy, but ignore posts more deserving to be taken down. Then, of course, there are grey areas.

 

Even though censorship was anathema to many of the founders of social media platforms, these modern venues for exchanging ideas need more guidance and regulation if their more dangerous roots are to be weeded out.

 

The Human & Digital Communications Agency

Our award-winning communications team blends human interactions & digital engagement seamlessly to produce results for brands.

 

Best PR Agency Delivering PR | Social | Digital. 

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Why marketing and PR needs data science?

Regular LinkedIn users who often check the classified job ads may have noticed an increasingly common trend among marketing recruiters – jobs requiring some expertise in data science (or “Big Data scientists”). Big Data and digitally applied skills jointly provide better analysis of business/ consumer results (or any shortfalls in this area); and, such skills also help to extrapolate and zone in on those who are likely to be interested in the client’s products and service offering. Several tech magazines have identified this type of job role as being “better paying than medicine” as a career path, with a future focus in app creation to look for pattern-seeking and data crunching knowledge: “This trend for data scientists mimics the trend for digital specialists that happened earlier at the turn of the millennium.” (Wired US).

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