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| 2 minutes read

SINGAPORE: New obligations for social media services under the Code of Practice on Online Safety

Further to the passing of the Online Safety (Miscellaneous Amendments) Act (“Act”) earlier in February this year, the Infocomm Media Development Authority (“IMDA”) has now issued a Code of Practice on Online Safety (the “Code”).

The Act aims to enhance online safety for users in Singapore, especially children. IMDA is empowered under the Act to designate social media services (“Companies”) which must then comply with online Codes of Practice. At present, the designated Companies are Facebook, HardwareZone, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, and YouTube.

The Code now provides these designated Companies with further clarity on their specific obligations to mitigate the risks from harmful content (e.g. sexual content, violent content, cyberbullying content, suicide and self-harm content etc.).

The Code came into effect on 18 Jul 2023 and is legally binding. If a designated Company fails to take all reasonably practicable steps to comply with the Code, the designated Company may have to pay a financial penalty up to SGD 1,000,000, or be directed by the IMDA to take necessary steps to remedy the failure.

Among other things, the designated Companies must comply with the following key requirements:

  • minimize Singapore users’ exposure to harmful content and provide additional protection to children through implementing reasonable and proportionate measures, such as:
    • Community guidelines and standards, and content moderation;
    • Easy access to information and education related to online safety;
    • Tools for users and parents to manage the safety of their own and their children;
    • Prevention of content targeting towards children that is detrimental to their physical or mental well-being;
    • Differentiated accounts with more robust settings against harmful content and unwanted interactions by default for children.

  • provide effective and easy to use reporting and resolution mechanism for users to report harmful content or unwanted interactions. Assess and take appropriate actions in a timely and diligent manner, and inform users about the decisions and actions taken with regards to their reports.

  • submit annual online reports to the IMDA on measures to combat harmful content and Singapore users’ experience on the SMSs. The first annual online safety reports are required to be submitted in the second half of 2024 and will be published on the IMDA website.

Key takeaways 

Social media companies – even those which are not designed Companies –with significant reach or impact in Singapore should bear in mind the requirements of the Code and consider undertaking a review of their existing policies and practices. Such companies should likewise keep a close eye on developments in this space in Singapore. Based on the raft of legislation which has been passed by the Singapore Parliament in the last six months, it is clear that online safety is fast becoming a focus of the legislature

The Online Safety Code may be accessed here: code-of-practice-for-online-safety.pdf (

The IMDA has taken a multi-pronged approach to developing and refining the Online Safety Code, which includes extensive consultation with various stakeholders, such as the public, academics, and industry, to understand public concerns and operational considerations.


singapore, dlapiper, internetlaws, onlinesafety, onlineharm, asia, media