On Thursday (11 April), Kristen Han, the Editor of New Naratif, a regional-focused news site, took to her Facebook account to highlight a rather concerning issue as she mentioned that her friends have seen pro fake-news bill sponsored ads pushed into their Facebook feeds.
In her post, she accompanied a picture of the sponsored ad by online community page called Singapore Matters. The ad claims that words written by historian and Managing Director of New Naratif, Thum Ping Tjin are misleading as he does not include every fact in his writings.
This was in response to his negative statement regarding the Protection against Online Falsehoods and Manipulation (POMFA) bill.
Ms Han also accompanied a screenshot that shows that this ad is targeted to people who are aged 20 to 56 who live near Singapore, Central Region – the category that she falls in.
Earlier, on 5 April (Friday), she uploaded a similar post and asked netizens if they’ve been getting sponsored ads pushed into their Facebook feeds of Law and Home Affairs Ministers K Shanmugam’s video of POMFA, or any other pro-Bill content.
Surprisingly, many online users have included pictures of these sponsored ads coming from various pages like “Fabrications About The PAP”,”Singapore Matters” as well as “Gong Simi Singapore”.
Looking at the ads that have been pushed to people, Ms Han couldn’t help but wonder who is sponsoring these ads and what are these sites about.
Many of the so-called facts or allegations against individuals have been argued as falsehoods or half-truths that are misleading.
At the end of the day, isn’t this what POFMA seeks to address? That advertising to communicate misleading statements of facts are illegal.
But we have this Clause 61 of POFMA provides ministers the power to grant exemptions from the bill:
So it’s also worth questioning if advertising for pages like these, that attack or post misleading statements about opponents of the PAP, will be spared from the powers of POFMA?