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Facebook concerned after Singapore blocks States Times Review

Christian Fernsby |
Facebook said it was deeply concerned about how a Singapore government order to disable access to a blog page on its social media website could set a precedent for stifling free speech.

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The government had ordered Facebook this week to block The States Times Review’s page in Singapore, saying the blog had repeatedly conveyed falsehoods and not complied with any of the directions that it had been served with under the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act.

Facebook said it is legally compelled to comply with the order to restrict access to the page in Singapore after a ‘careful review’. However, “we believe orders like this are disproportionate and contradict the government’s claim that POFMA would not be used as a censorship tool,” a Facebook spokesperson said in an emailed statement today.

Singapore’s fake news law has been used several times since it was enacted in October. Some opposition politicians are worried the law will be used to suppress dissent ahead of elections that must be held by April 2021, though ministers have said the legislation is needed to deal with the spread of misinformation that could undermine free speech.

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