Facebook bows to Singapore's 'fake news' law

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Singapore ‘Fake News’ Law Sparks Rare Censorship Fears from Mainstream Media 1AFPAllum Bokhari30 Nov 2019

The government said in a statement that it had issued an order requiring Facebook "to publish a correction notice" on a November 23 post which contained accusations about the arrest of a supposed whistleblower and election rigging.

Facebook issues first-ever "fake news" correction to user post under pressure from Singapore govt 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.

The post included allegations surrounding the detention of a supposed whistleblower as well as accusations of election tampering, which the Singaporean government derided as "scurrilous" and "false" claims.

The social site has named a November 23rd post as containing "false information" to comply with a Singapore law meant to check the spread of false information.

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One supporter of the government order against the States Times and Facebook wrote: "This is perhaps the most elegant approach to combating fake news".

Authorities ordered editor Alex Tan to correct the post but the Australian citizen refused, saying he would "not comply with any order from a foreign government".

It also contains a link to the government's fact verification website. The Singapore government denies both counts, saying that no one has been arrested and that Facebook removed the page of their own accord. "If Facebook complies to Singapore, then the question is, will they then comply with other governments as well in the future".

"As it is early days of the law coming into effect, we hope the Singapore government's assurances that it will not impact free expression will lead to a measured and transparent approach to implementation".

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The increasing use of the law comes as speculation emerges that elections can be organized within months, although a weak opposition is seen as not a party to the long-ruling People & Action Party.

Singapore used the law for the first time Monday, ordering opposition party member Brad Bowyer to correct a Facebook post that authorities said could "smear the reputation" of two state investment funds.

But Singapore's law minister said free speech "should not be affected by this bill", adding that it was aimed only at tackling "falsehoods, bots, trolls and fake accounts".

Facebook, a major investor in Singapore, is headquartered in Asia in the city-state and announced plans a year ago to build a $ 1 billion data center there.

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