Singapore invokes ‘fake news’ law for first time over Facebook post

Singapore political figure Brad Bowyer placed a correction notice with a link to the government statement above his Facebook post following a request to do so under the country’s new ‘fake news’ law. (AFP)
Updated 25 November 2019

Singapore invokes ‘fake news’ law for first time over Facebook post

  • Political figure Brad Bowyer used ‘false and misleading’ statements alleging the government influenced decisions made by state investors Temasek Holdings and GIC

SINGAPORE: Singapore political figure Brad Bowyer on Monday corrected a Facebook post questioning the independence of state investment firms following a government request, in the first use of the country’s new “fake news” law.
Bowyer used “false and misleading” statements alleging the government influenced decisions made by state investors Temasek Holdings and GIC, according to a statement on the official government fact-checking website.
Bowyer said he had placed a correction notice with a link to the government statement above his Facebook post following a request to do so under the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA).
“I have no problem in following that request as I feel it is fair to have both points of view and clarifications and corrections of fact when necessary,” Bowyer said in a statement on Facebook.
“In general, I caution all those who comment on our domestic politics and social issues to do so with due care and attention especially if you speak from any place of influence.”
Bowyer, a naturalized Singaporean born in Britain, has been a member of the ruling party and opposition parties but has never stood for elected office.
A spokesman for the newly-created POFMA office said the correction requested by the minister for finance was the first case under the new law, which came into effect in October.
Rights groups have raised concerns the fake news law will be used to stifle free speech and chill dissent in the city state, where the ruling party has comfortably won every election since independence in 1965.
Singapore says it is particularly vulnerable to fake news because of its position as a global financial hub, its mixed ethnic and religious population and widespread Internet access.


Turkey imposes advertising ban on Twitter, Periscope, Pinterest

Updated 19 January 2021

Turkey imposes advertising ban on Twitter, Periscope, Pinterest

  • Decisions in Official Gazette say the advertising bans went into effect from Tuesday

ISTANBUL: Turkey’s Information and Communication Technologies Authority has imposed advertising bans on Twitter, Periscope and Pinterest under a new social media law, according to decisions published in the country’s Official Gazette on Tuesday.
The law, which critics say will muzzle dissent, requires social media companies to appoint local representatives in Turkey. On Monday, Facebook joined other companies in saying it would be appointing such a representative.
YouTube, owned by Alphabet Inc’s Google, said a month ago it had decided to appoint a representative.
The decisions in the Official Gazette said the advertising bans went into effect from Tuesday. Twitter, its live-streaming app Periscope, and image sharing app Pinterest were not immediately available to comment.
The law allows authorities to remove content from platforms, rather than blocking access as they did in the past. The move has caused concern as people turn more to online platforms after Ankara tightened its grip on mainstream media.
In previous months Facebook, YouTube and Twitter had faced fines in Turkey for not complying with the law. Companies that do not follow the law will ultimately have their bandwidth slashed by 90 percent, essentially blocking access.