Facebook extends fact-checking service to Singapore

Facebook's announcement comes days before Parliament debates the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Bill.
Facebook's announcement comes days before Parliament debates the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Bill.PHOTO: AFP

Facebook has announced the extension of its third-party fact-checking service to Singapore, days before the parliamentary debate on proposed fake news legislation is set to take place next week.

The social media giant is working with international news agency Agence France-Presse (AFP) to provide the service.

From Thursday, AFP started reviewing and rating the accuracy of stories in English, Chinese and Malay on Facebook in Singapore, including photos and videos.

The agency said it will have one fact-checking reporter at its Singapore bureau supported by a regional team in Hong Kong.

Stories can be flagged to AFP by either a Facebook algorithm or the user community. AFP fact-checkers also work to proactively identify false news content.

Facebook provides its fact-checkers with nine rating options.

Stories rated as "false", "mixture" or "false headline" by a fact-checker will be bumped down in users' Facebook news feeds, reducing their distribution.

Users who try to share content falling into any of the above three categories will also be notified of the fact-checker's rating.


AFP is committed to exposing and debunking disinformation around the world, said the agency's Asia Fact Check editor Karl Malakunas.

He added that AFP has fact-checking operations in more than 20 countries worldwide. Singapore becomes the sixth in the Asia-Pacific region after the Philippines, Indonesia, India, Pakistan and Australia.

Facebook started partnering with third-party fact-checkers in December 2016 after coming under pressure around the world to stop the use of fake accounts and other types of deception to sway public opinion in the wake of the US elections that year.

"We believe that with this fact-checking programme, we can help build a more informed community in Singapore and look forward to exploring more opportunities to expand this programme locally," said Ms Anjali Kapoor, Facebook's Asia-Pacific director of news partnerships.

Facebook's announcement comes days before the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Bill is debated in Parliament next week.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 04, 2019, with the headline 'Facebook extends fact-checking service to Singapore'. Print Edition | Subscribe