FB rejects S’pore govt’s request to remove 1MDB article
SINGAPORE: Facebook has rejected a government request to remove a post of an online article that the government said was “false and malicious”, prompting its Law Ministry to say the case illustrated the need to introduce legislation to stop fake news.
Singapore’s central bank said on Friday it had filed a police report against an online article by an Australia-based blogger about Singapore banks and Malaysia’s 1Malaysia Development Bhd state fund.
Web access to the States Times Review (STR) has been blocked by Internet service providers as directed by Singapore’s Infocommm Media Development Authority (IMDA).
“IMDA has assessed that the article undermined public confidence in the integrity of the Singapore government and is objectionable on grounds of public interest,” IMDA said.
STR articles on its Facebook page remained available.
IMDA asked Facebook to take down a post of the article, but “Facebook has indicated that they will not accede to IMDA’s request”, it said in a separate statement yesterday.
The Law Ministry said “Facebook has declined to take down a post that is clearly false, defamatory and attacks Singapore, using falsehoods”, which illustrated the need to introduce legislation fighting fake news.
“FB (Facebook) cannot be relied upon to filter falsehoods or protect Singapore from a false information campaign,” it said.
The States Times Review was founded and is run by Singaporean activist Alex Tan, who is based in Australia.
It carries articles that are critical of Singapore’s leaders and its ruling People’s Action Party.
Tan said in a post on his Facebook page on Friday that he had decided to suspend activities on the website because “it lost a channel to reach Singaporeans”.
He said he would stop writing and his Facebook page would shut down in two weeks, but the move was not because of pressure from the Singapore government.