Facebook said on Saturday that a corrective label had been issued on a user’s post as requested by the city-state's government, but added that a balanced approach should be taken to a new 'fake news' law, which covers statements that are communicated in the city even if they are published abroad.
“Facebook is legally required to tell you that the Singapore government says this post has false information”, the notice, which is visible only to local Facebook users, said. “As required by Singapore law, Facebook applied a label to these posts, which were determined by the Singapore government to contain false information”, a Facebook spokesman added. “As it is early days of the law coming into effect, we hope the Singapore government’s assurances that it will not impact free expression will lead to a measured and transparent approach to implementation.”
On Friday, the Singapore authorities said that they requested Facebook "to publish a correction notice" on a 23 November post, published by Australian citizen Alex Tan running on the States Times Review blog, which contained allegations about the arrest of a supposed whistleblower and election fraud.
The microstate's government, which is expected to announce general elections within months, had declared that the allegations were "false" and "scurrilous" and ordered the user to correct the post on his own. Upon Alex Tan's refusal to obey, the authorities launched an investigation against him.
According to Facebook's 'transparency report', it often blocks content that national governments allege violate local laws, with nearly 18,000 cases globally in the first half of the year.