After Andrew Loh, Teo Soh Lung and Kirsten Han, it is the Admin of a relatively unknown Facebook page, ‘Fabrications From the FAP’. The Admin of the page, Alan Tan, wrote this note explaining that he was banned for 24 hours by Facebook.
“I am the admin of Facebook page Fabrications From The FAP, that aims to refute allegations from the FAP. However, some PAP IB had taken offence at my posts and reported them. As such, my main account will be banned for 24h.”
The Facebook page is here: https://www.facebook.com/FabricationsFromTheFAP.
Posts from prominent personalities like Mr Loh, Ms Teo, Ms Han as well as Roy Ngerng which are socio-political in nature have been deleted by Facebook arbitrarily.
It is unclear if there is a concerted effort to silence voices of PAP’s critics in Facebook, but all posts that have so far been censored had taken issue with Fabrications About PAP, a group who are rabid fans of the PAP. The Admin of the group is Mr Jason Chua.
Mr Chua was recenlty investigated by the police for allegedly breaching the Cooling Off Day regulations. Mr Loh in sharing a previous newspaper article had claimed “that Jason Chua is not the only administrator of the odious FAP page.”
He asked: “The rest are anonymous administrators. Who are these people? Are they Singaporeans? Or foreigners? Are they PAP members?”
Adding: “Jason Chua claims he is “not a PAP or Young PAP man” and that he “has no political affiliation.”
A blog, ‘Singapore Hall of Shame’ had previously run an expose on what the blog claims is the PAP’s Internet Brigade (PAP IB), “how this secretive group operates, and who their puppet-masters are.” The blog claimed that it was given “exclusive access to their inner workings thanks to one of their former members; Agent Kelly.”
On June 27 Facebook apologised to Mr Loh for censoring his post and for banning him from posting in its platform. In its apology Facebook said: “A member of our team accidentally removed something you posted on Facebook. This was a mistake, and we sincerely apologize for this error. We’ve since restored the content and you should now be able to see it.”
Some have suggested that Facebook’s censorship algorithm, which is triggered when a number of people make a complaint about a single post, is the reason for the moderation and the bans.
Facebook’s moderation algorithm has been flagged in the past. In 2014, an anti-vaccination lobby in Australia tried to silence a pro-vaccination group there by going back over old posts and reporting for harassment any comment that mentioned one person’s name specifically.
Under Facebook’s algorithm, mentioning someone’s name means that if the comment is reported it can be seen as violating community standards. (Read the post ‘Abusing the Algorithm: Using Facebook Reporting to Censor Debate‘)
Others have insinuated that the censorship is because of the relationship Facebook founder has with the Government of Singapore.
Such allegations are not without precedence. In 2011, anti-austerity protesters in the United Kingdom claimed that Facebook’s arbitrary deletion of several it activists’ pages was politically motivated or instigated by law enforcement. A spokesman from Facebook denied such allegations and said that the activists’ accounts were suspended because it was not properly registered.(link: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2011/apr/29/facebook-accused-removing-activists-pages)