Facebook bows to Singapore's 'fake news' law with post 'correction'

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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.

Facebook is no stranger to blocking content that violates local laws, but this is the first time it's been ordered to post a correction under such a law. The post in question, which remains available, contained "scurrilous accusations against the elections department, the prime minister, and the election process in Singapore" according to the government. Tan had initially refused the order and is now under investigation, although there may not be much Singapore can do when Tan doesn't live in the city-state.

The law, titled the "Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act", was recently invoked to remove a Facebook post from a publisher that was critical of the ruling government.

It also contains a link to the government's own fact-checking website.

"Although I have no problems in following the law...that does not mean that I agree with the position (the government is) taking or admit to any false statements on my part, Bowyer said".

The States Times is a frequent critic of the Singapore government, and the article made claims about election rigging and the alleged arrest of a whistleblower.

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Singapore authorities had previously ordered STR editor Alex Tan to correct the post but the Australian citizen said he would "not comply with any order from a foreign government". In a statement Facebook said that it hoped that "the Singapore government's assurances that it will not impact free expression will lead to a measured and transparent approach to implementation".

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's government, which regularly faces criticism for curbing civil liberties, insists the legislation is necessary to stop the spread of damaging falsehoods online.

He reacted defiantly, saying that he had reposted his article on Twitter, Google and LinkedIn, calling for the Singapore government to issue correction orders to the companies.

The blog was shut down late previous year but later moved to the Facebook page of the Singapore Herald, also based in Australia.

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