Some netizens have pointed out that one of several hopefuls tipped to be fielded as a People’s Action Party candidate in the next General Election is a top executive at social media giant, Facebook. This emphasis comes on the heels of the massive Facebook data breach in the US that is allegedly linked to partisan politics.

The potential candidate netizens are zero-ing in on is 37-year-old Alvin Tan, who serves as head of public policy (South-east Asia) at Facebook. The Straits Times identified him as one of 200 potential candidates who may be fielded as ruling party candidates in the next General Election.

Although the report was published in December last year, it was shared with increased fervour recently:

On Facebook and elections, and staying in power. http://www.straitstimes.com/politics/pap-identifies-200-hopefuls-for-next-ge

Posted by Roy Yi Ling on Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Mr Alvin Tan, 37, head of public policy (South-east Asia), at social media giant Facebook is the 2nd person from the…

Posted by Gilbert Louis on Tuesday, 20 March 2018

 

Such posts noticing Tan’s post with Facebook and his link to the ruling party come as allegations that Facebook posts have been mysteriously disappearing without notification have been floating online. In a notable case recently, a Facebook post that was published on 7 Mar on the contrast between parliamentarians in the UK and Singapore mysteriously disappeared two days after it was posted.

The post’s writer, Chairman and CEO of Rafflesia Holdings Pte Ltd Mr Mano Sabnani, said that the post – which compared British Minister Lord Michael Bates with local opposition MP Sylvia Lim – had received 350 reactions, 155 comments and was shared 650 times before it was taken down without explanation.

Netizens’ concerns that social media websites can be used for political ends come as news broke last weekend that a data firm with ties to US politicians Ted Cruz and Donald Trump reportedly accessed information from about 50 million Facebook users without their knowledge nor authorisation.

The data harvest occurred as around 270,000 people took a personality quiz online that gave a Cambridge University professor access to their data and their Facebook friends’ data. This information, which was initially collected for academic purposes according to Facebook, was later transferred to third parties in violation of Facebook policies.

One such third party who received this data was Cambridge Analytica, a firm which worked on Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. The firm, which is known for exploring the usage of data to create “psychographics” in the electoral process, has asserted that it was misled as to what the source of the data was. The firm also denied that the data that it received was used for Trump’s campaign.

Despite this, Facebook has taken issue with the fact that parties such as the data firm still possess the information that was harvested through the personality quiz. It has suspended Cambridge Analytica and its parent company, Strategic Communication Laboratories, and is working with regulators to investigate the massive data breach.

I want to share an update on the Cambridge Analytica situation — including the steps we've already taken and our next…

Posted by Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Nevertheless, the scandal has caused Facebook’s stock price to take a plunge earlier this week, with nearly $50 billion being wiped away from the social media giant’s stock price. The company is also facing lawsuits from investors and website users even as a “delete Facebook” movement gains traction in the West.

Not the first time Facebook has been accused of meddling in global politics

While Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has claimed that his platform is a politically agnostic tool for its countless users, it is clear that the conglomerate actively works with governments and political parties worldwide.

Facebook runs an active politics and government engagement team that travels the globe helping their political clients use the company’s digital tools to drive their campaigns. The politics unit is believed to be sizeable – one executive reported that the unit could deploy hundreds of staff, drawn in from the company’s legal, information security and policy units, during the height of an election.

According to a report by Bloomberg, the politics unit has played a powerful role in the campaigns of US President Donald Trump, India Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, among others. The unit has also come under fire in the European Union, for the spread of Islamic extremism on the Facebook network.

A former senior staff with the politics unit, Elizabeth Linder who started and ran the unit’s Europe, Middle East and Africa efforts until 2016, told reporters that she chose to leave the company partially as she grew uneasy with what she saw as an increased focus on electioneering and campaigning. She said: “It’s not Facebook’s job, in my opinion, to be so close to any election campaign.”

34 COMMENTS

  1. Who doesn’t covet extra pocket money of $16k every month for a parttime MP post. The FB guy who jumps on the GRC bandwagon will be killing two birds with one stone, serving two employers instead of only one with the same effort.

  2. The best form of propaganda is borderline. That makes you feel like you’re thinking of your own will, but is actually being manipulated. Sadly many people cant see thru that.

    • Yes, all the time thru our media. The news article, the TV interview, the poster, the leftlet, the pamphet….say it often and before you know it, you have been conditioned. It happens in Singapore everyday, all around us.

  3. This website is playing 3 headed dragons. There was earlier article about laws against fake news and freedom of speech, then this article about a potential PAP candidate in FB, and what does this website thinks about the use of FB by foreign governments and various self interest groups to influence voters ? Come on. Give views on all sides just like CNN !

  4. Hahahaha..in the SAF we say.. we are stupid mah.. we guy defend the country .. local and foreign chabor don’t serve NS or army become MP, minister , PM … haha all bcos of 30% idiot serve the FT and 70% . Only Aljunied and Hougang ppl are smart

  5. Resent2.
    FB and Android OS, iOS, and many Apps are collecting all your datas to US CIA for usage, they also sell to whoever pay them. Angry Bird is an example of CIA apps been leaked to prove how they collect your hp data.

    These data include everything you stored inside hp, not just your social apps usage. You can check all you apps & Android OS using some anti spy apps, they used a huge chunk of your data plan like 30% for Android OS alone to send data back to US, using Amazon cloud server.

    CIA then use these data to profile people that they can use to subvert the country, stir riot, religion conflicts, inter race problems, regime change, in short, instigate & brainwashing whatever CIA want you people to do for them.

    So becareful. Many countries are already targeted and successful subverted. Ukraine Maidan riot, Brazil Pres change, Venezuela unrest, Syria war, Iran riot rally, HK color revolution independent calling, Taiwan independent, Sri Lanka regime change,,.long list of regime change & meddling in every electionsby CIA.

    Malaysia Najib Umno is been targeted for his pro-China stand since last election. Philippine Dutert also kana.

    Beware Sporean, US is using Spore as canon fodder to encircle China to keep its hedgmon, which LHL obeyed to join Quad Oz, Jp, India lead by US. All these countries are bankrupt poor countries no biz for Spore. And India Indians are massively move in to make Spore another Island of India at Malacca Straits to choke China sealanes trade route.

    So US got LHL to allow USN & India Navy to use Changi naval base, USAF anti submarine plane using Seletar air base, all targeting to choke China sealanes.

Comments are closed.