SINGAPORE: The Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA) Office has been instructed to issue correction directions to several parties, including an Instagram user, Singapore Uncensored and The Online Citizen Asia over falsehoods alleging police bullying.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said on Friday (May 21) it is "aware of falsehoods circulated online in an Instagram story by Instagram user @nichology" and shared by The Online Citizen Asia and Singapore Uncensored on their online platforms.
They will all be required to carry the correction notice as new posts.
Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam has also instructed the POFMA Office to issue a targeted correction direction to Facebook "for the falsehoods which have been communicated in Singapore by means of Facebook", MHA said.
Facebook will be required to communicate a correction notice to Facebook users in Singapore who had accessed the falsehoods, the ministry added.
POLICE HELPED LOST ELDERLY WOMAN FIND HER WAY HOME: MHA
The Instagram story on May 18 alleged that four police officers had “cluster(ed around) an elderly auntie that took off her mask because she was feeling breathless”, “continued to tell her off to the extent (that) someone had to come and salvage the situation” and “taunt(ed)” the elderly woman, MHA said.
The Instagram story also claimed that the police officers had abused their authority.
"These allegations are wholly false, and there is no basis for the claim that the police abused their authority," the ministry added.
MHA said that the police had responded to an incident at about 6.45pm on May 17 at Block 743 Yishun Avenue 5.
They found an 85-year-old woman who appeared to be lost and did not have a mask on.
With the help of a member of the public, it was subsequently established that the elderly woman lived in a nearby block and her domestic helper was contacted to bring her home, MHA said.
"As the incident took place during dinner time, the police officers also bought food for the elderly woman. No further police assistance was required after the elderly woman was handed over to her domestic helper safely," said the ministry.
On Friday evening, Instagram user Nichology posted a "correction notice" on his page, which said: "My earlier Instagram story falsely claimed that the police reprimanded and taunted an elderly woman for not wearing a mask. To clarify, police were helping her to find her way home as she appeared to be lost."
The post also included a link to the Factually page detailing the incident.
MHA also advised members of the public not to participate in the spreading of unverified information online.
This story has been updated to include a correction notice post on Nichology's Instagram page.