The Online Safety (Miscellaneous Amendments) Act 2022, which commenced on 1 February 2023, empowers the IMDA to issue directions and disable access to egregious content on online communication services.


Singapore Introduces New Online Safety Provisions to Tackle Online Egregious Content

February 17, 2023

The Online Safety (Miscellaneous Amendments) Act 2022 (Act), which aims to enhance online safety for Singapore users, commenced on 1 February 2023.  The Act amends the Broadcasting Act 1994 (Broadcasting Act) and regulates egregious content on online communication services (OCSs).

Regulation of Egregious Content

Under the Act, the Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA) can issue directions to regulate access to egregious content found on OCSs.  The Act imposes a duty on every OCS provider (or internet access service provider) to take all reasonably practicable steps to comply with such directions.

The IMDA may issue the following types of directions:

  • a direction to an OCS provider to disable access by Singapore users to the egregious content on the service (e.g., to ensure that the content cannot be viewed);
  • a direction to an OCS provider to stop the delivery or communication of content to Singapore users (e.g., blocking the flow of content from a specified communications source on the OCS such as an account, group or channel); and
  • a direction to an Internet access service provider to block access by Singapore users to an OCS provider that fails to comply with an IMDA direction.

Who are OCSs?

OCS refers to an electronic service that is specified in the Fourth Schedule of the Act and excludes electronic services such as short messaging service, multimedia messaging service or internet access service.  As a start, the Act only specifies social media services under the scope of OCSs.  A social media service is defined under the Act as a service that satisfies all the following characteristics:

  • the sole or primary purpose of the service is to enable online interaction or linking between 2 or more end-users (including to share content for social purposes);
  • the service allows end-users to communicate content on the service; and
  • any other characteristics prescribed by the IMDA under regulations issued under the Broadcasting Act.

The IMDA may designate OCSs with significant reach or impact as Regulated Online Services (ROCs). An ROC may be required to comply with additional obligations, imposed through Codes of Practice, including the implementation of appropriate systems or processes to mitigate and manage the risks of Singapore users arising from content on the ROC’s service.

What is “Egregious Content”?

Egregious content includes content that:

  • advocates or instructs on suicide or self-harm or the infliction of physical or sexual harm;
  • depicts child sexual exploitation;
  • poses public health risks in Singapore;
  • may cause racial and religious disharmony in Singapore;
  • advocates or instructs on terrorism; or
  • any other content that IMDA may further prescribe in regulations issued under the Broadcasting Act.

Draft Code of Practice

At this time, the IMDA has published a draft Code of Practice for Online Safety (Online Safety Code), which specifies the outcomes that ROCs must meet to enhance online user safety and to control the spread of harmful content on their service. For example, the draft Online Safety Code may require an ROC to put in place measures to minimise children’s exposure to harmful and inappropriate content through reasonable and proportionate measures such as establishing community guidelines and standards.  The draft Online Safety Code is expected to be issued in the second half of 2023 and will be accompanied by a set of guidelines illustrating the categories of harmful content.

Key Takeaway

The Online Safety Code is expected to be issued in the second half of 2023 along with guidelines outlining the types of harmful content.  OCS providers will need to adhere to the online safety requirements under the Act and continue to keep abreast of developments in this area.

For More Information

OrionW regularly advises clients on technology and media matters.  For more information about technology and media, or if you have questions about this article, please contact us at

Disclaimer: This article is for general information only and does not constitute legal advice.


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