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Facebook asked by POFMA office to publish correction direction on user's post that carried false statement

Facebook asked by POFMA office to publish correction direction on user's post that carried false statement

File photo of the Facebook logo. (Photo: AFP/Olivier DOULIERY)

SINGAPORE: The Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA) Office has been instructed to issue a targeted correction direction to Facebook, after a user failed to comply with a previous correction direction.

Correction directions were issued on Friday (Jul 3) to the Sin Rak Sin Party Party Facebook page, as well as Facebook users Ryann Smith and Denise Fletcher, and Jafri Basron.

The POFMA Office said on Friday that the page and the users had posted screenshots of, or linked to, an article that contained a false statement that the Urban Redevelopment Authority has released a “plan to build underground infrastructure ready for 10 million population”.

READ: GE2020: DPM Heng denies saying Singapore should plan to increase population to 10m

As of Saturday night, correction notices have been put up on the Sin Rak Sin Party page, as well as on the posts of Ryann Smith and Denise Fletcher, but not on Jafri Basron's.

The targeted correction direction requires Facebook to publish a correction notice on Jafri Basron's post, dated on Jul 2.

The POFMA office was instructed by the alternate authority for the minister charged with the responsibility for the portfolio of the Prime Minister insofar as it relates to the National Population and Talent Division.

The article on Factually is as follows:

Falsehoods

Several Facebook users – “Denise Fletcher”, “Jafri Basron”, and “Ryann Smith” – as well as a Facebook page Sin Rak Sin Party have recently posted screenshots of, or links to, an article first published by The Online Citizen (TOC) on Apr 4, 2019, which contained a false statement that the URA has released a “plan to build underground infrastructure ready for 10 million population”.

This is false for the following reasons:

  • The Government has not proposed, planned nor targeted for Singapore to increase its population to 10 million;
  • The Government does not have any population target; and
  • URA’s underground plans are not meant to serve any population target.

The Government has clarified Singapore’s population plans on multiple occasions: 

(i) in Parliament in March 2018, when it projected Singapore’s total population is likely to be significantly below 6.9 million by 2030 

(ii) in two Factually articles (“What is the aim of Government population policies?” in March 2020, and “Does the Government have a population target e.g. 10 million?” in July 2020), and 

(iii) in a media statement issued by the National Population and Talent Division (NPTD) on 1 July 2020. The media statement also stated that the publication of such falsehoods damages the public interest by undermining legitimate and honest discussion, and that appropriate action may be taken against any further publication of such falsehoods. Despite the latest clarification, the falsehood continues to be repeated.

Additional Clarifications

The underground plans aim to make more effective use of Singapore’s subterranean spaces. Moving infrastructure, utilities and storage facilities underground would free up surface land for more green and public spaces, as well as for people-centric uses that would improve the living environment for all Singaporeans. 

Source: CNA/nh(mi)

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