You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Facebook Complies as Singapore Government Begins Using Anti-Fake News Law

Facebook said on Saturday that it had complied with a Singapore government directive issued under the country’s recently enacted “fake news law.”

Underneath a posting by the States Times Review, a third party publishing company, the social media giant added a written disclaimer. “(Facebook) is legally required to tell you that the Singapore government says this post has false information,” it said. Facebook disclaimer

The States Times is a frequent critic of the Singapore government, and the article made claims about election rigging and the alleged arrest of a whistleblower. It was also ordered to make corrections, but its editor Alex Tan claims to be an Australian citizen and said that he had no intention of complying with a foreign government. Facebook’s addendum is only visible to Facebook users within Singapore.

Singapore’s Protection From Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA) allows government ministers to counter what they determine as fake news by ordering websites to publish disclaimers. The websites can appeal the decisions to a court but must comply immediately and before the case is heard. The law also permits actions against bots and spammers.

Failure to comply with a POFMA order can result in a fine of S$1 million (US$731,000), with an additional penalty of S$100,000 for each day of non-compliance thereafter.

Popular on Variety

The fake news act has divided opinion. The Singapore government argued that it was necessary because its mixed race, and massively online population is sensitive to troublemaking. Critics say that it is yet another example of the ruling PAP-led government stifling criticism. Although the city-state is the Asian regional HQ for several international media companies, Singapore ranks a lowly 151 in the press freedom index compiled by Reporters Without Borders.

One supporter of the government order against the States Times and Facebook wrote: “This is perhaps the most elegant approach to combating fake news. No takedowns, no censorship. Just a right of reply. And the reader can judge for him/herself.”

Facebook appeared to comply begrudgingly. In a statement Facebook said that it hoped that “the Singapore government’s assurances that it will not impact free expression will lead to a measured and transparent approach to implementation.”

The States Times incident is the second time in a week that the government has issued a so-called “correction notice.” On Monday, the government ordered opposition member of parliament Brad Bowyer to correct a Facebook post questioning the independence of state investment funds. He complied with the notice, but on Thursday added a statement suggesting that he too does not feel the law to be fair.

“Although I have no problems in following the law…that does not mean that I agree with the position (the government is) taking or admit to any false statements on my part,Bowyer said. He explained that he must comply “regardless of whether I make an appeal.”

More Digital

  • Game of Thrones Avengers Endgame

    'Game of Thrones,' 'Avengers: Endgame' Among Most Popular Tweets of 2019

    Twitter released its top-trending topics and tweets of 2019 with “Game of Thrones,” “Avengers: Endgame,” and actor Tom Holland commanding the most tweets in the TV, movies, and actors categories. BTS holds both the No. 1 spot in the most-tweeted-about musicians category and the second-most-retweeted tweet worldwide. Since its release in June, a video of [...]

  • Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates his side's

    Canal Plus, beIN Sports In Exclusive Talks For Distribution Deal

    Vivendi-owned pay-TV banner Canal Plus Group and the global network beIN Sports have started exclusive talks to sign a five-year exclusive distribution and sub-licensing deal in France. The two companies previously tried to forge a partnership in 2016 but it was denied by France’s anti-trust board. Under the proposed deal, Canal Plus would distribute all [...]

  • NBCUniversal Peacock

    Comcast to Spend $2 Billion on NBCU's Peacock Streaming Service in First Two Years

    Comcast expects to pump $2 billion into NBCUniversal’s Peacock streaming service in aggregate over 2020 and 2021, while the company is projecting it will not be profitable for the first five years, according to CFO Mike Cavanagh. Cavanagh, who provided the details Monday at UBS’s Global TMT Conference in New York City, tried to put [...]

  • Watcher Entertainment - Steven Lim, Ryan

    Ex-BuzzFeed Video Staffers Launch Watcher Entertainment Digital Studio (EXCLUSIVE)

    UPDATED: After building their careers as internet personalities at BuzzFeed, the creators and hosts of three of the company’s biggest shows — Steven Lim, Ryan Bergara and Shane Madej — have formed their own digital-video venture. They quit BuzzFeed earlier this year and founded L.A.-based Watcher Entertainment, with the trio looking to get full creative [...]

  • 25. Oktober 2019, Berlin, Deutschland, JustWatch[Foto:

    Streaming Guide JustWatch Acquires Video Search Engine GoWatchIt (EXCLUSIVE)

    Berlin-based streaming guide JustWatch has acquired media search engine GoWatchIt from Plexus Entertainment, and is using the acquisition to open up its first office in New York. Terms of the deal, which was stock- and cash-based, haven’t been disclosed. GoWatchIt founder and CEO David Larkin will join JustWatch as its new senior vice president of [...]

  • CBS Joins Open AP Audience-Targeting Alliance

    CBS Joins Open AP Audience-Targeting Alliance

    “Young Sheldon” leads CBS’ Thursday-night schedule. Soon it may help to lead advertisers to a new way of placing their commercials. CBS has joined “Open AP,” the audience-targeting alliance working to accelerate the emerging advertising practice known as “audience buying.” Open AP works to give advertisers a way to buy impressions from particular types of [...]

  • Roku Channel to Stream Game of

    Roku to Stream First Season of 'Game of Thrones' for Free Later This Month

    Ready to start over on “Game of Thrones,” or finally give it a try if you never watched it in the first place? Streaming device maker Roku is giving its customers another chance to watch the first season of the hit show, as well as a number of other popular shows, for free through the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content