Facebook (FB.O) said on Saturday it had issued a correction notice on a user’s post at the request of the Singapore government but called for a measured approach to the implementation of a new “fake news” law in the city-state.
The correction label was embedded at the bottom of the original post without any alterations to the text.
The Singapore government said on Friday it had instructed Facebook “to publish a correction notice” on a Nov. 23 post which contained accusations about the arrest of a supposed whistleblower and election rigging.
Singapore, which is expected to call a general election within months, said the allegations were “false” and “scurrilous” and initially ordered user Alex Tan, who runs the States Times Review blog, to issue the correction notice on the post.
Tan, who does not live in Singapore and says he is an Australian citizen, refused and authorities said he is now under investigation. Reuters could not immediately reach Tan for comment.
“As it is early days of the law coming into effect, we hope the Singapore government’s assurances that it will not impact free expression will lead to a measured and transparent approach to implementation.”
Some Singapore users, however, said that they could not see the correction notice. Facebook could not immediately explain why the notice was unavailable to some users.
Facebook often blocks content that governments allege violate local laws, with nearly 18,000 cases globally in the year to June, according to the company’s “transparency report.”
Two years in the making and implemented only last month, Singapore’s law is the first to demand that Facebook publish corrections when directed to do so by the government.
The Asia Internet Coalition, an association of internet and technology companies, called the law the “most far-reaching legislation of its kind to date”, while rights groups have said it could undermine internet freedoms, not just in Singapore, but elsewhere in Southeast Asia.
The penalties range from prison terms of as much as 10 years or fines up to S$1 million ($733,192).