Govt debunks fake news linking closure of Woodlands MRT station to Wuhan virus

Two Facebook posts, put up by different accounts, falsely claimed the Woodlands MRT station was closed for disinfection.
Two Facebook posts, put up by different accounts, falsely claimed the Woodlands MRT station was closed for disinfection.PHOTO: GOV.SG

SINGAPORE - The Woodlands MRT station was not closed because of a suspected case of the Wuhan coronavirus, as claimed by several Facebook posts, said the Government on Tuesday (Jan 28) as it invoked Singapore's law against fake news for the second time in relation to the virus.

As misinformation swirled online about the virus, two posts circulating on Facebook told people to avoid the Woodlands MRT station, claiming a suspected case was discovered there.

The posts, put up by different accounts, also falsely claimed the station was closed for disinfection.

Debunking the fake news, the Ministry of Transport said in a Facebook post: "We would like to clarify that this is not true. Woodlands MRT was not closed on 28 Jan 2020; it was fully operational."

The ministry also asked people not to speculate and spread unfounded rumours and to get the latest updates on the Wuhan virus situation through government channels such as www.moh.gov.sg or the Gov.sg Whatsapp group at https://go.gov.sg/whatsapp.

Meanwhile, Facebook was asked to carry a correction notice to direct people to the facts at the Government's Factually website. The notice has to run alongside the two posts and was not up as at 7.45pm on Tuesday.

Minister for Transport Khaw Boon Wan had initiated the targeted correction direction under the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (Pofma), in the second instance the law has been used in relation to the Wuhan virus.

In the first case, SPH Magazines was asked to correct an online post in the HardwareZone forum that falsely claimed a man in Singapore had died from the Wuhan virus infection. The company had taken down the thread in line with community guidelines and also complied with the order.

 

The Pofma Office on Tuesday urged people to report any suspected falsehoods to info@pofmaoffice.gov.sg.