FACEBOOK DECLINES SG TAKEDOWN REQUEST
SINGAPORE— Facebook has rejected a Singapore 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 independent blogger about Singapore banks andMalaysia’s 1MDB state fund.
Web access in Singapore to the website of the States Times Review (STR) has been blocked by internet service providers as directed by Singapore’s telecom and media regulator Infocomm 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 in a statement.
The IMDA asked Facebook to take down a post of the article but “Facebook has indicated that they will not accede to IM- DA’s request,” it said in a separate statement on Saturday.
Singapore’s Ministry of Law 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.
“(Facebook) cannot be relied upon to filter falsehoods or protect Singapore from a false information campaign,” it said in a statement.
The Straits Times Review was founded and is run by a Singaporean political 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 that he had decided to suspend activities on the website because “it lost a channel to reach Singaporeans.”
He also said he would stop writing and his Facebook page would shut down in two weeks, but the move was not because of pressure from Singapore.
GLOBAL CAMPAIGN A Facebook sign at a convention in Shanghai, China on Nov. 5.