Singapore orders to block Facebook pages
Facebook has expressed concern over Singapore’s order to ban access to its Facebook pages.
Singapore said the site “State Times Review” violated a recently introduced law against ‘fake news’ in the country, and repeatedly called it ‘false’.
Although Facebook says it is “legally compelled” to comply with the order, the ruling is a “cause for concern”.
Facebook added that Singapore’s ruling could ‘hinder freedom of expression’.
This new law was enacted in October in Singapore and is known as the ‘bill of protection against lies and manipulation online’ (Protection from online falsified and manipulated bills).
Introducing the new law, Singapore’s government said it needed the law because fake news could disrupt racial and religious harmony, and the government needed options that would urgently combat such lies. Measures can be taken that spread quickly.
A Facebook spokesperson said in a statement to the BBC that “we believe such orders are based on dishonesty, and they contradict the government’s claim that should be used for censorship.” Will not be used as a ‘.
“We have repeatedly pointed out that this law can cause excessive hardship and we are also worried that this law will set a (bad) precedent for the ban on freedom of expression in Singapore.” ‘
What was posted on this page?
Singapore officials say that in January, the Times Times Review (STR) posted a Facebook post saying ‘it was falsely claimed that masks used in Singapore have been removed.’ This was writen in the contex of the corona virus. Then many people started buying masks after the virus spread to Singapore.
Although Singapore has reported dozens of Corona virus cases to its people, the government’s stand has been that it has adequate measures to prevent the outbreak.
When the article was posted on Facebook by the STR, the government ordered it to issue an amendment stating that the information it posted was incorrect, however, ignoring the government’s order.
Then, on February 15, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting ordered the STR to post a notice on its Facebook page that it was a “declared online location”. This meant that everyone who came to this page was ‘aware that this page has a history that false news has been posted here.’
STR did not comment on its page. Rather, officials said that the operators of the page changed their URL, after which the ministry had to write to Facebook to block access to users residing in Singapore.
Minister of Information and Broadcasting S. Eswaran said that in the context of the virus outbreak, it was especially important to take ‘foamy measures’ against such false news.
“If we don’t do this kind of lie, (people) can cause anxiety, fear, even chaos.”
Since last November, STR’s Facebook page has been ordered three times to make corrections to its content.
In the meantime, when Facebook was once instructed to publish corrections on the STR textbook, Facebook had complied with the order. The Facebook administration wrote in the notice that “the law requires that Facebook inform you that the Singaporean government (posting on this patch) was a liar.”
The editor of the SRT is Alex Tan, who hails from Australia, and last year said he would ‘not comply with a foreign government order.’
What if Facebook didn’t follow the order?
Law allows the Singaporean government to order the said online platform if it considers a news to be ‘untrue’ or believes that the news is ‘against the public interest’. Remove or correct it.
Thus, if the government considers that Facebook did not comply with its order, then Facebook would be in breach of the law.
If that were the case, Facebook could be fined $ 20,000 a day, with a maximum limit of $ 500,000.
Remember that Facebook is headquartered in Singapore for the countries of Asia-Pacific. In addition, Facebook has invested $ 1 billion in the country to build its data center. The center is expected to open in 2022.
What is being said about the Law of Fake News?
The Singapore government has always held a strong grip on the media. Singapore is ranked 151th in 180 countries this year in the global ranking of media freedom.
Critics say the aforementioned law threatens freedom of expression. Amnesty International, a human rights organization, said the law would “give the government endless powers to circumvent ideas that are published online against its will.”
But Singapore’s law minister said, “The bill does not want to affect freedom of expression This is because the purpose of this law is to ‘handle only fictitious accounts, trolls and news that are false.’