Facebook blocks Singapore anti-government page, slams misinformation law

Facebook blocks Singapore anti-government page, slams misinformation law

SINGAPORE: Facebook on Tuesday blocked the page of an anti-government website in Singapore following a requirement from authorities but slammed the "disproportionate" use of a controversial law against online misinformation.

The widely criticised legislation gives ministers powers to order internet platforms and websites to place warnings next to posts they deem false, and also order pages be blocked within the tightly regulated city-state.

Political website States Times Review (STR) -- which regularly posts articles critical of the govt -- was repeatedly accused of circulating falsehoods but refused to suits official demands to place up corrections.

Authorities in the week ordered Facebook to dam the page for Singapore users.

While they need ordered corrections be put up next to posts on several occasions, this was the primary time they sought to possess access to a page disabled.

Confirming it complied with the order, Facebook said it had been "legally compelled" to limit access to the page in Singapore.

But a spokesperson added: "We believe orders like this are disproportionate and contradict the government's claim that (the law) wouldn't be used as a censorship tool.

"We've repeatedly highlighted this law's potential for overreach and we're deeply concerned about the precedent this sets for the stifling of freedom of expression in Singapore."

A post on the STR's Facebook page said it had been shutting but redirected users to an alternate page where the site's content was available.

Other tech giants, including Google and Twitter, also as rights groups have expressed concerns about the Singapore law.

But the govt insists the legislation is important to prevent the spread of falsehoods online, and had accused the STR of circulating misinformation, including about the coronavirus outbreak.