In its most open snub of the Singapore government to date, Facebook has rejected demands by authorities to remove a States Times Review post that alleges the government and PM Lee Hsien Loong were engaged in corrupt dealings with Malaysia.
The Law Ministry revealed this last night in a press statement.
The Law Ministry said that Facebook’s stance shows it “cannot be relied upon to filter falsehoods or protect Singapore from a false information campaign” and added that more legislation will be required to tackle fake news.
“Facebook has declined to take down a post that is clearly false, defamatory and attacks Singapore, using falsehoods.”
“This shows why we need legislation to protect us from deliberate online falsehoods.”
Interestingly enough, just days before Facebook’s snubbing of Singapore authorities, SDP secretary-general Dr Chee Soon Juan and some of his team were given a tour of Facebook’s new office and it looks like they had fun.
Facebook’s snub comes after a testy exchange between Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam and Facebook’s VP of public policy for Asia-Pacific, Simon Milner during a Select Committee on Deliberate Online Falsehoods in March this year.
Grilling Mr Milner for about 3 hours, Mr Milner said that if the government wants Facebook to take down posts which it deems to constitute fake news, it will have to prove the news is fake and obtain a court order directing Facebook to remove such posts.
“If it’s shown to be false, through a court process and we get a court order, then we can and will respect that court order.”