Singapore uses new law to fight 'fake news'
Singapore used its law to combat what it deems misinformation for the first time on Monday, ordering an opposition figure to correct a Facebook post authorities said could “smear the reputation” of state investment funds.
The legislation, which came into force last month, gives government ministers powers to order social media sites to put warnings next to posts authorities deem to be false and in extreme cases get them taken down.
Tech giants including Google and Twitter have criticized the law, as have activists who fear it could stifle online dissent, but the government insists the measure is necessary to stop the circulation of damaging falsehoods.
Brad Bowyer, a member of opposition group Progress Singapore Party, was ordered to correct a November 13 Facebook post in which he questioned the independence of state-linked investment vehicle Temasek and sovereign wealth fund GIC.
It came as speculation mounts that a general election could be called within months, although a weak and divided opposition is seen as no match for the long-ruling People’s Action Party.
The government’s fact-checking site said authorities do not control the investment funds’ commercial decisions: “The government does not influence, let alone direct, the individual investment decisions made by Temasek and GIC.”
Bower used to be a member of the PAP but recently joined the Progress Singapore Party, a new opposition group backed by the prime minister’s estranged brother.