SINGAPORE: The Media Literacy Council (MLC) on Sunday (Sep 8) apologised for including satire as a form of fake news in a Facebook post last week.
“We acknowledge that the post and infographic gave the wrong impression that satire was fake news, which was not the intent. We are sorry for the confusion and will review our material,” MLC said.
The Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act Bill, which was passed earlier this year, does not cover opinion, criticism, satire or parody.
In its initial Facebook post on Sep 5, MLC said that fake news could take many forms and includes: False context, imposter content, manipulated content, misleading content, clickbait and satire.
The post was accompanied by an infographic depicting the above types of content and contexts as examples of fake news.
Social media reaction to the Sep 5 post was swift, with many respondents disagreeing with MLC's classification of satire as fake news.
MLC took down the Facebook post on Saturday - and issued its apology on the same social media platform on Sunday
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"The aim of the post was to raise awareness among youths and the general public about the need to be aware of the ways in which misinformation or fake news can be spread, and encourage readers to understand the context in which information is presented. This is part of MLC's work to encourage online discernment," MLC said.
"Thank you to the readers who brought this to our attention."
This response brought another wave of criticism from netizens.
"Wow! This post is also demonstrating fake news, another great example from MLC! In the previous post you clearly listed satire as fake news, yet here you say that wasn't your intent. Was your intent to mislead people? Are you ok?" said user Jacelyn Yap.
Adrian Cahill commented: "Anyone who read the post and then did not see the follow up, such as the ‘apology’, might still be thinking that satire is a 'no no' in Singapore. Will there be a big real apology and explanation in places which are widely available?"
Another user, Joshua Ip, thanked MLC for taking down the post, but argued that MLC did not merely give the "wrong impression".
"Thank you for the take-down. However, regardless of your stated 'intent', your post and infographic did not merely give 'the wrong impression'. It was, by definition, fake news and misinformation," he said.