S'pore govt won't ban OnlyFans for now, but will monitor platforms for risk of abuse: Josephine Teo

Under Singapore’s Penal Code, it is illegal to transmit any obscene material by electronic means.

Sulaiman Daud | January 13, 2022, 06:27 PM

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The government will not yet ban content-sharing platform OnlyFans, but rather take a "holistic" approach in dealing with objectionable content on the Internet.

Minister for Communications & Information Josephine Teo was responding to Nominated Member of Parliament Shahira Abdullah in a written reply.

Shahira had asked whether the Ministry for Communications & Information (MCI) will consider banning the OnlyFans website, as it can be used for the distribution of obscene material.

Not everything on OnlyFans is porn

Teo pointed out that not all content on OnlyFans comprises objectionable materials.

OnlyFans also has a number of safeguards, such as requiring users to be at least 18 years old, prohibiting creators from posting egregious content like revenge porn.

Anyone can report suspected violations of the terms of service to the platform.

What is illegal?

However, under the Penal Code, it is illegal to transmit any obscene materials by electronic means.

It is also illegal to participate in or receive profits from any business where obscene materials are transmitted by electronic means or advertise the sale of obscene materials.

Singaporeans were reminded of this fact recently when local creator Titus Low was charged for related offences.

Teo said members of the public who are aware of people engaging in such activities can make a police report.

Dealing with objectionable content

Teo said the authorities must ensure that content platforms do not expose Singaporeans to the risk of exploitation and abuse, especially youths.

The government will monitor developments and take regulatory action if it deems fit.

Teo said:

"Realistically, however, it will not be possible to block all objectionable or obscene content on the internet. That is why we must look beyond banning and take a holistic approach to deal with such content."

She cited efforts by the government to tackle the issue, such as MCI's Sunlight Alliance for Action, which brings together partners from the people, public and private (3P) sectors to drive ground-up digital safety initiatives, especially harmful actions targeted at women and girls.

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Top image from Titus Low Instagram and gov.sg YouTube.

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