Activist and former political detainee Teo Soh Lung has been censored and banned from posting on Facebook for a day (from 3 Jul afternoon to 4 Jul afternoon). Writing in her Facebook at the end of the ban period, Ms Teo said the censorship and ban were for a post titled ‘Police Terror’.
Ms Teo was previously detained without trial under the covert internal security operation that took place in Singapore on 21 May 1987, Operation Spectrum. The detainees have all claimed that they are innocent.
Mr Tan Tee Seng (a fellow detainee under Operation Spectrum with Ms Teo) referring to another ban by Facebook last week said, “this happening too frequently.”
The social media giant apologised to prominent blogger Andrew Loh on June 27 for censoring his posts pertaining to local socio-political issues, 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.”
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‘)
Like Mr Loh, most of Ms Teo’s posts concern topics of local socio-politics, which are critical of the Government and the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP).
It is also unclear if there is a concerted effort to silence voices of PAP’s critics in Facebook, but Mr Loh was banned and censored several times for posting about Mr Jason Chua, the main Admin of the odious Facebook group ‘Fabrications About the PAP’.
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.”
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