Fake Facebook page set up in the name of Catholic Archbishop

Mr Andre Ahchak (above) said members of the Catholic community asked if the Facebook page with the Archbishop's name (left) was real.
Mr Andre Ahchak said members of the Catholic community asked if the Facebook page with the Archbishop's name (above) was real.PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM ARCHBISHOP WILLIAM GOH'S FACEBOOK
Mr Andre Ahchak (above) said members of the Catholic community asked if the Facebook page with the Archbishop's name (left) was real.
Mr Andre Ahchak (above) said members of the Catholic community asked if the Facebook page with the Archbishop's name was real.PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM ARCHBISHOP WILLIAM GOH'S FACEBOOK

Just a week ago, the Roman Catholic community noticed a Facebook page set up in Archbishop William Goh's name - it made friend requests and even asked for money.

This was the second time in less than a year that a fake account was set up in the name of the church leader, and the church cited it as an example of the ongoing fight against online falsehoods.

"It is a continuous battle, day in and day out," the Roman Cat-holic Archdiocese's communi-cations director Andre Ahchak said yesterday.

He was one of four represen-tatives from religious groups to appear before the Select Committee on Deliberate Online Falsehoods on the first day of its public hearings. The others were from the Singapore Buddhist Federation and National Council of Churches of Singapore.

Speaking about the Roman Catholic Archdiocese's latest encounter, Mr Ahchak told The Straits Times that within a day, members of its community questioned if the Facebook account bearing the Archbishop's name was real.

Mr Ahchak and his team acted fast to quash the fake page with clarifications on messaging apps Telegram and WhatsApp, and it reported the page to Facebook. The page has since been taken down.

They also published a statement from the Archbishop on his real Facebook page, and on the church's website.

If anyone impersonates the Archbishop online and says something silly or that riles another religious group, it affects the reputation of not only the Archbishop himself, but the entire Roman Catholic church, said Mr Ahchak.

To prevent such fabrications from spreading, he added: "We have a team of people who keep their eyes and ears on the ground for us."

This group of volunteers from all walks of life monitors local and international happenings, helping to disseminate clarifications when necessary, he said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 15, 2018, with the headline 'Fake Facebook page set up in the name of Catholic Archbishop'. Print Edition | Subscribe