Published: 30 Nov 2019
Silhouettes of laptop users are seen next to a screen projection of Facebook logo in this picture illustration taken March 28, 2018. © REUTERS/Dado Ruvic
For the first time, Facebook has given into pressure from Singapore to add a correction notice on a post which officials have deemed “fake news,” shared on the platform by a blogger.
“Facebook is legally required to tell you that the Singapore government says this post has false information,” the notice said, which was embedded at the bottom of the post without any changes to the original text.
The social media giant appended the correction to a post by Australia-based blogger Alex Tan, whose site, the States Times Review, is banned in Singapore. The post in question alleged that members of a local student union had run into trouble with police, which the Ministry of Home Affairs dubbed “false and baseless.”
Singapore’s Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA) allows the government to attach a disclaimer to content deemed “fake news.” This is the first time that the legislation has been applied on a social media platform.
Facebook routinely complies with government requests to block content that violate local laws. But the Singapore law is the first to require the social media giant to published corrections to user posts at the behest of a government.
Facebook has previously said it was “concerned with aspects of the new law which grant broad powers to the Singapore executive branch to compel us to remove content they deem to be false and to push a government notification to users.”
While the company apparently has concerns about issuing government-mandated corrections, Facebook has long maintained that as a “publisher” it has the right to censor and block undesirable speech.