- Asia-Pacific markets report diverse findings, with the region reporting some of the best and worst online experiences for 2020
- From 2019 to 2020, Singapore’s Digital Civility Index score improved by four points to 59; emerging as one of the top five most digitally civil globally
- Global increases in experiences of hoaxes, frauds and scams, hate speech and discrimination
SINGAPORE, 10 FEBRUARY 2021 – Microsoft today unveiled results from its annual study, “Civility, Safety, and Interactions Online – 2020” along with findings from its 2020 Digital Civility Index (DCI). Results from Microsoft’s metric showed that Singapore performed better than much of the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region in online civility in 2020, with a DCI score of 59 compared with APAC’s score of 66. Additionally, Singapore’s DCI score has improved from 2019’s score of 63, emerging as one of the top five most digitally civil globally.
However, hoaxes, scams, and frauds are at all-time highs for Singapore’s online users since 2018 – with a four-point increase to 31%. Experiences of hate speech however, went down by 2% to 15%, and likewise for discrimination, by 1% to 14%.
The latest instalment of the DCI survey, which has been conducted annually for the past five years, surveyed around 16,000 respondents in 32 geographies, and was completed in April to May 2020. The research polled adults and teenagers about their interactions online and experiences of online risks. This year’s research included nine APAC geographies: Australia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam.
“Microsoft’s annual study on digital civility is crucial to raising awareness and encouraging positive online interactions. Our societies are relying on and embracing digital technologies more than ever amid COVID-19, and a safer internet will improve experiences and shape the well-being of our communities,” said Richard Koh, Chief Technology Officer at Microsoft Singapore. “This Safer Internet Day, we are reminded that governments, organizations and individuals all have a part to play in helping to make the internet a better place for work and play.”
Teenagers drove positive improvements
Teenagers (aged 13-16) in Singapore were found to be positive drivers for improvement in DCI performance, and scored 50 in the measure of online civility, as opposed to adults at 68.
Additionally, 19% of respondents in Singapore said online civility was better during the pandemic, attributed to greater sense of community and people coming together to deal with this crisis, while 31% cited online civility as worse due to a greater spread of false and misleading information and people taking out their frustrations online.
The risks faced by online users are also increasingly anonymous and recent, with 12% of Singaporean respondents reporting an online risk experienced in the past week, and 36% saying that the risk they experienced came from strangers online.
“It’s heartening to see our next generation take the lead in driving positive interactions online, and to witness digital citizens come together to uplift online communities during the pandemic,” added Richard. “Nonetheless, threats such as hoaxes, scams & frauds, together with uncivil behaviours, continue to pervade society, requiring us all to take positive action.”
Moving into the new year, Singapore’s top wishes for the next decade were for better respect (65%), safety (51%), kindness (37%), civility (36%) and empathy (25%).
Responding to build a safer internet
Within Singapore and APAC, Microsoft works with governments, academics, civil society, and other stakeholders to share best practices on digital safety, help inform policy and regulatory debates, and advocate for a respectful, healthy online environment.
To foster a better and safer internet, Microsoft also champions the Digital Civility Challenge, which outlines four principles that online users can commit to, namely:
- Living the “golden rule” – To act with empathy, compassion and kindness in every interaction, and treat everyone online with dignity and respect
- Respecting differences – To appreciate cultural differences and honor diverse perspectives, engaging thoughtfully and avoiding name calling and personal attacks
- Pausing before replying – To pause and think before responding and not post or send anything that could hurt someone else, damage someone’s reputation, or threaten safety
- Standing up for yourself and others – To tell someone when feeling unsafe, offering support to those who are targets of online abuse or cruelty, and report activity that threatens safety
More tips from Microsoft on online safety can be found at https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/digital-skills/online-safety-resources, with frequent updates on Facebook (@saferonline) and Twitter (@Safer_Online).
Full results from Microsoft’s 2020 digital civility research can be found at https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/digital-skills/digital-civility.
Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.
 With the DCI, a lower score indicates better online civility
 Of those surveyed, 501 were from Singapore