Examples of falsehoods in Singapore and other countries

Bata Primavera country manager Paolo Grassi flanked by senior manager James Selvaraj and chief collection manager Sharon Wong[/LEFT][/CENTRE] at a press conference last Friday. Last November, All Singapore Stuff published an article saying the roofto
Last November, All Singapore Stuff published an article saying the rooftop of Punggol Waterway Terraces had collapsed. Police and civil defence units were mobilised and deployed to investigate, but it was a hoax. PHOTO: HDB
Bata Primavera country manager Paolo Grassi flanked by senior manager James Selvaraj and chief collection manager Sharon Wong[/LEFT][/CENTRE] at a press conference last Friday. Last November, All Singapore Stuff published an article saying the roofto
Bata Primavera country manager Paolo Grassi flanked by senior manager James Selvaraj and chief collection manager Sharon Wong at a press conference last Friday. PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

IN SINGAPORE

Fake: On Nov 22 last year, All Singapore Stuff website published an article with the headline "S'pore new citizen feels cheated, now wants his old citizenship back". The article was accompanied by an unrelated photograph of a Mr Prakash Hetamsaria.

Fact: The person in the photo was not the new citizen mentioned in the headline. Many netizens, however, did not click on the article to read that it was submitted by "Fernandez", and assumed the new citizen was the person whose photo appeared in the article. The photo was later replaced with one of Chinese actress Gong Li receiving her Singapore citizenship papers from MP Lee Bee Wah in 2008.

Fake: In November last year, All Singapore Stuff published an article saying the rooftop of Punggol Waterway Terraces had collapsed.

Fact: Police and civil defence were mobilised and deployed to investigate the claim, which turned out to be a hoax.

 
 

Fake: In January, messages circulated on social media and messaging platforms, claiming supermarket chain FairPrice's house brand jasmine rice was made from plastic.

Fact: FairPrice said on its Facebook page that its rice had passed safety checks by the authorities. FairPrice made a police report on the matter.

Fake: In February, an anonymous post widely circulated on social media claimed that a childcare centre in River Valley Road made children sleep on the floor and eat rotten fruit, with photographs as "evidence".

Fact: The Early Childhood Development Agency said, following investigations, that the centre had complied with regulatory requirements and the photos appeared to have been taken out of context.


AROUND THE WORLD

Fake: Last August, American sociopolitical site The Political Insider published an article with the headline: "WikiLeaks CONFIRMS Hillary Sold Weapons to ISIS... Then Drops Another BOMBSHELL!"

Fact: No WikiLeaks e-mails confirm that US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton directly and knowingly "sold weapons to ISIS".

Fake: Last October, Russian TV network Russia Today published a video, ahead of the Italian constitutional referendum of Dec 4, purporting to show thousands of people protesting against Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.

Fact: The people had gathered in support of Mr Renzi, not to protest against him.

Fake: In January, Breitbart News, of the United States, published an article reporting that at the New Year's Eve celebrations in Dortmund, Germany, a mob of more than 1,000 men chanting "Allahu Akhbar" launched fireworks at the police and set fire to a historic church.

Fact: The German police said no "extraordinary or spectacular" incidents marred the festivities. Scaffolding covering the church caught fire from a stray firecracker, but it was put out in 12 minutes.

Fake: In February, the claim that Bata shoes had the Arabic word "Allah" on its soles went viral in Malaysia. Bata withdrew 70,000 pairs from its stores in Malaysia, losing more than RM500,000 (S$158,000).

Fact: Bata was cleared of the allegations by the Al-Quran Printing Control and Licensing Board of Malaysia's Home Ministry.


WHAT COUNTRIES ARE DOING TO COMBAT FAKE NEWS

Germany: Considering a law that will require social networks like Facebook to remove fake news. Those that fail to do it promptly can face fines of up to €50 million (S$75 million). 

Britain: Considering whether fake news spreaders can be blocked or closed down, or if genuine news outlets can be given a special verification mark. Also, it is urging tech companies to help tackle the problem on social media platforms as they have done in combating piracy, illegal content sharing, hate speech and cyber bullying.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 04, 2017, with the headline 'Examples of falsehoods in Singapore and other countries'. Print Edition | Subscribe