Facebook user issued Pofma notice for false claims on Resilience Budget

The user must now display a correction notice and providing access to the correct facts.
The user must now display a correction notice and providing access to the correct facts.PHOTO: GOV.SG

SINGAPORE - The $48 billion Resilience Budget will not go specifically to Singapore Airlines (SIA) and Temasek Holdings, said the Government on Wednesday (April 1) as it invoked Singapore's law against fake news against a Facebook user.

Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat has instructed the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (Pofma) Office to issue a correction direction to Facebook user tifinnytara, the Pofma Office said in a statement on Wednesday.

On March 29, the user posted on her Facebook page that almost one third of the support provided by the Resilience Budget would go to SIA.

This is untrue, said the Government on its fact-checking website Factually.

SIA's $15 billion capital raising announced on March 26 is not funded by the Government.

Next, she claimed in the same post that the $17 billion from Singapore's past reserves would be ringfenced for Temasek Holdings.

The schemes drawing from past reserves are for broad-based economy and sector-wide schemes. None of these schemes are dedicated specifically to Temasek Holdings or Temasek-linked companies.

The Government said that the $48.4 billion in the Resilience Budget would go to supporting the workforce, helping enterprises overcome immediate challenges, and strengthening economic and social resilience.

Of this, $20 billion has been set aside for loan capital while $13.8 billion will go towards the Jobs Support Scheme to provide wage support for businesses. 

The scheme covers all sectors with severely impacted sectors getting additional support.

Eligible individuals and households will also benefit from the Self-Employed Person Income Relief Scheme and the Care and Support Package.

 

As of 11.40pm on Wednesday, tiffinnytara’s Facebook account could no longer be found.

Under the correction order, the user was instructed to display a correction notice and provide access to the correct facts. The direction does not require the recipient to take down their post or make edits to their content, and does not impose criminal sanctions.

When asked, Pofma office declined to say when the Facebook user has to comply with the correction direction.

The Straits Times has contacted tifinnytara for comment.

This is not the first time Pofma has been invoked to correct statements made about the Covid-19 outbreak. 

On March 18, three Facebook users, including opposition politician and lawyer Lim Tean, were issued correction directions for alleging that the People’s Association (PA) and residents’ committees (RCs) were involved in the organisation of an event that has emerged as Singapore’s largest coronavirus cluster.

In January, two Facebook accounts were issued correction directions after they made posts claiming that Woodlands MRT station was closed for disinfection because of a suspected Covid-19 case.

That month, SPH Magazines was also asked to correct an online post in the HardwareZone forum that falsely claimed a man in Singapore had died from the virus infection, while The States Times Review Facebook page was instructed to correct a post that claimed Singapore had run out of face masks.