Commentary: Critical thinking, a needed nutrition to resist the virus of falsehoods

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Deliberate online falsehoods (DOFs), also known as disinformation and fake news, is a problem that has again drawn the attention of the Singapore public.

Last Thursday (Sep 20), the Select Committee on DOFs published a report that explains the committee’s findings on the causes and impact of the problem. The report also recommends countermeasures such as critical thinking to address the problem.

The report paves the way for a multitude of efforts that could be taken at the institutional, societal and individual levels to protect the Singapore public from the harmful impact of DOFs.

As with any complex problem, the public would have a wide range of views on DOFs. These views dissect both the explanations for the causes of the problem and the recommended countermeasures to address the problem.

DOFs is not a straightforward problem as it could either gestate internally or be engineered by external actors. Different intentions drive its spread, and different end outcomes determine its methods.

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