Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam has instructed the POFMA office to issue correction directions to three entities, regarding a video falsely alleging that police officers had taunted and reprimanded an elderly woman for not wearing a mask.
As it turned out, the officers were assisting the elderly woman. Correction directions have been issued to:
- Instagram user @nichology for his Instagram story on May 18, 2021.
- Singapore Uncensored for posts May 18, 2021, sharing an article on the above-mentioned Instagram story by @nichology.
- The Online Citizen Asia for posts dated May 18, 2021, sharing the above-mentioned Instagram story by @nichology.
All three have to carry the correction notice as new posts.
Shanmugam also instructed the POFMA Office to issue a targeted correction direction to Facebook, Inc., "for the falsehoods which have been communicated in Singapore by means of Facebook."
Facebook, Inc. will be required to communicate a correction notice to Facebook users in Singapore who accessed the falsehoods.
The facts of the case
@nichology's Instagram story falsely alleged that the woman was being "taunted" by police officers, and said "Shame on you!"
He also falsely alleged "abuse of authority" and tagged the Singapore Police Force.
He also shared what appeared to be messages from other Instagram users sympathising with the woman and expressing anger towards the police.
In reality, the 85-year-old woman, who did not have a mask on, appeared lost. She is believed to have dementia.
Officers attended to her and helped her find her way home. Police also shared that the officers, worried that she might be hungry, bought her food.
A member of the public came forward and revealed that the woman stayed at a nearby block. The woman's domestic helper was later contacted and she was returned home safely.
A full clarification can be found at government fact-checker Factually.
Reactions of the three entities
As of time of writing @nichology has not yet shared a new post with the correction notice. He has around 15,000 followers, and his last post was on April 26.
Singapore Uncensored's Facebook page appears to have taken down the post referred to by the POFMA office from public view.
There are no posts shared by the group on May 18 regarding the incident visible on the timeline, although there is one on May 19 debunking the allegation.
That post has four reactions and no shares.
The Online Citizen Asia
The Online Citizen Asia appears to have edited the text of the original post on May 18.
The initial caption just included @nichology's false allegations, however an edit on May 19 added the debunking and the explanation from the police.
It did not share any other posts regarding the incident on May 18.
The Online Citizen Asia put up a new post with the correction direction on May 21.
However, it included in the comment section a link to yet another post, which appears to include photos of the direction itself.
That post is captioned: "Issuing POFMA for the sake of issuing."
Top image from @nichology's Instagram story. POFMA stands for the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act.