On Monday, Facebook announced that Singapore’s use of an online misinformation law is “severe” and risks stifling free speech after the company was again forced to block a page in the city-state.

It was the latest criticism from Facebook over legislation that empowers ministers to tell Internet platforms to put warnings next to posts they deem false and order the blocking of pages.

Fringe political website the National Times Singapore was accused of making false statements via its Facebook page, including a claim that “every criticism” of the government had been outlawed under the disinformation law.

The site was required to erect a banner flagging it was false but it rejected, and Facebook was ordered to block access to the site’s page in Singapore.

Facebook said the company was “legally compelled” to comply. But a spokesperson added that “blocking orders like this are severe and risk being misused to stifle voices and perspectives on the Internet. Freedom of expression is a fundamental human right, and we work hard to protect and defend this important civil liberty around the world.”

The page was run by anti-government activist Alex Tan, who lives in Australia and has been repeatedly accused of spreading falsehoods on a variety of subjects.

According to authorities, four Facebook pages that he operates have now been blocked.

A Singapore government website aimed at debunking untrue information claims that Tan “continues to publish falsehoods that distort the public’s understanding of the (misinformation) law and how it has been implemented”.

Other tech giants, including Twitter and Google, as well as rights groups, have expressed concerns about the law, which came into force in October.

The government’s political opponents have also raised concerns that it is being used to suppress criticism ahead of elections expected within months.

Source: https://gadgets.ndtv.com/social-networking/news/facebook-slams-severe-singapore-misinformation-law-2238659

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