TL;DR – I hear people say.
Fake news is becoming increasingly rampant. It’s a global problem. Singapore isn’t spared this scourge. The government is “seriously considering” how to address the fake news problem. But what can the government do?
Currently, there are limited remedies to deal with falsehoods under current laws. As Minister Shanmugam said:
“For example, it is an offence under the Telecommunications Act to transmit messages knowing it is false. But these remedies are ineffective. They were really looking at a time before this new age. The circulation of falsehoods can grow viral today very quickly, and so we need to do more.”
The government did try to come up with its own mechanism to address this problem. It set up the Factually.gov.sg website. Unfortunately, the website is so… boring. It’s pure fact. And each “article” is just a wall of text. With font that is just a bit too small. Who would go to that site to find out what’s true? By the way, The Middle Ground has an interesting piece on Factually.gov.sg recently.
Thankfully, there are Singaporeans who care enough and are talented and creative. One of these special breed of Singaporeans is a man called Gaurav Keerthi. Yes, he’s the one with that viral Facebook note about national defence in Singapore.
This gentleman has came up with a wonderfully designed website, Confirm.sg.
What is Confirm.sg?
It’s a website that has a series of quizzes. By answering the 10 questions in each quiz, you can find out if the things you think are true are actually true. It helps you discover your misconceptions of various issues. What’s more, you can compare your understanding against others. And you don’t only know whether you got the question correct or not. It also tells you additional information about the issues related to the question.
Each quiz revolves around a certain theme. We did the quiz about economy. The quiz was framed as a hypothetical conversation between a ‘typical’ taxi uncle and you (the passenger). Why? Because, as the site says:
“We’ve all heard taxi uncles complain about the state of the economy, income levels, and their perception of poverty in Singapore. How much of this is true, and how much of it does not stand up to the facts? Can you tell the difference?“
The questions include:
- Taxi uncle say, every year the rich and poor getting further apart la. Rich getting richer, poor getting poorer every year, right? (True/False)
- Taxi uncle say, this gahmen make poor people pay so much tax instead of taxing all those filthy rich people much more. Unfair sia! (True/False)
Why we love it?
We love that the format the quiz is presented in. It’s witty that the questions are phrased as claims that you could possibly hear a taxi uncle make. The Singlish makes it something that we can really identify with. They also make the quiz a lot more fun.
Because the whole process is gamefied, we didn’t feel like we were force-fed information. After answering the questions, it’s only natural to know whether we answered correctly. It’s also only natural to want to know what the correct answers were. And so we naturally ended up learning about our mis-perceptions. Totally brilliant.
But why would anyone want to do this quiz? Oh… we don’t know… maybe because someone challenged us? We love that there is an element of competition. You get to see how many people answered each question correctly or wrongly. You can show off to and challenge your friends on Facebook. Like this:
And… you know… Singaporeans are very kiasu one. Cannot lose. Everything must win. Kena challenge liao sure must go and do one, right?
Looking forward to more!
We understand that “Confirm?” was just launched not too long ago. It looks promising. We hope that to see more fun, interesting, and educational quizzes. That’s definitely a space we confirm will be watching for a while to come!