Facebook says it removed Goh Meng Seng's posts as they violated its policies on COVID-19 claims

Facebook says it removed Goh Meng Seng's posts as they violated its policies on COVID-19 claims

PPP MacPherson SMC, Goh Meng Seng, Jul 4, 2020 (4)
Goh Meng Seng speaks to media at a walkabout at 89 Circuit Road Market and Food Centre on Jul 4, 2020. (File photo: Anne-Marie Lim)

SINGAPORE: Facebook on Friday (Apr 16) said it does not allow false claims on its platform that could lead to the rejection of COVID-19 vaccines, and will remove such posts. 

The company was responding to CNA’s queries after People’s Power Party politician Goh Meng Seng said that Facebook removed "several" of his videos and posts, alleging intervention by the Singapore Government.

In a separate post earlier on Friday, the opposition politician also said that a video on the Goh Meng Seng People's Power Party page had been removed without “a good reason”.

“We do not allow false claims which international public health experts have advised us could lead to COVID-19 vaccine rejection,” a Facebook spokesperson told CNA when asked about why Mr Goh's posts were taken down.

“We identified posts in violation of these global policies and we removed them from Facebook.”

Facebook did not respond to queries on which posts were removed.

READ: POFMA correction directions issued to Goh Meng Seng, Singapore Uncensored over COVID-19 vaccination falsehoods

Mr Goh was on Thursday issued a correction direction under Singapore's Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA).

He had published posts on two Facebook pages linking COVID-19 vaccination to a stroke suffered by a doctor and the death of an 81-year-old man.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) said the allegations are false and there is "no credible evidence" for an increased risk of heart attack or stroke with the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines.

READ: 81-year-old man died of heart disease, not COVID-19 vaccination complications, says MOH

“The medical team caring for the doctor has assessed that the doctor’s current condition is highly unlikely to be related to the COVID-19 vaccination, and Mount Elizabeth Hospital had issued a clarification on Apr 4, 2021,” the ministry said on Thursday.

The cause of death of the 81-year-old man was ischaemic heart disease, which is a lack of blood circulation to the heart muscles, it added.

12 MILLION PIECES OF CONTENT REMOVED

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Facebook has removed more than 12 million pieces of content about COVID-19 and vaccines globally for violating its misinformation and harm policies.

According to a page on its COVID-19 and vaccine policy, Facebook does not allow false claims about the safety, efficacy, ingredients, development or conspiracies related to the jabs or inoculation programmes. 

Under its Coordinating Harm policy, Facebook also does not allow any content advocating or promoting that people do not get vaccinated.

Pages, groups and accounts - including Instagram accounts - may be restricted or removed if they repeatedly violate Facebook’s policies.

The company is also working to reduce the distribution of "sensationalist or alarmist" posts about vaccines, even if they do not violate its policies.

COVID-19 vaccines that are used in Singapore have been assessed to be safe and efficacious by the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) and the Expert Committee on COVID-19 Vaccination, MOH reiterated on Thursday.

Medical teams at vaccination sites are well-equipped and measures are in place to ensure the safety of vaccine recipients, it added.

"All vaccine-related incidents are taken seriously and healthcare professionals are required to report these incidents expediently to the MOH and HSA."

The ministry advised the public not to speculate or spread unfounded rumours and to refer to its website for the latest information on COVID-19 and vaccinations.

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Source: CNA/kg(gs)

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