SPH Magazines Pte. Ltd., the operator of the HardwareZone.com.sg forum, has complied with a correction direction pertaining to a post made on the forum last Sun (26 Jan), which falsely stated that a man has died from the Wuhan coronavirus infection in Singapore.
A spokesperson for SPH Magazines told The Straits Times on Tue (28 Jan) that SPH Magazines — which manages the HardwareZone forum — has “promptly complied” with the POFMA correction order.
HardwareZone had also published the correction notice with a link to the Government’s clarification regarding the falsehoods found in the offending post, the spokesperson added.
The SPH Magazines spokesperson also noted that the thread was removed “in line with” HardwareZone’s “community guidelines” prior to receiving the POFMA correction order.
“Forum users have also been reminded to post responsibly,” the spokesperson added.
The correction order was issued by the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (Pofma) Office on Mon (27 Jan) under Health Minister Gan Kim Yong’s instruction.
Under the correction direction, HardwareZone is required to carry the Correction Notice to all end-users in Singapore who use HardwareZone.com.
In a clarification posted on Gov.sg yesterday, the Government said that as of 11pm on Sun (26 Jan), “there have been no deaths among confirmed cases of the Wuhan coronavirus infection”.
Communications and Information Minister S Iswaran yesterday (27 Jan) told a multi-ministry press conference on the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak that the Government “will not hesitate” to use POFMA against parties spreading falsehoods regarding the situation.
“Otherwise, there is a grave risk that they will spread and cause panic amongst our citizens,” he added.
Touching on the POFMA correction order targeting the HardwareZone post, Mr Iswaran said: “The Minister for Health had ascertained that there was a false statement of fact, and satisfied that it was in the public interest to issue the correction direction.”
He added that despite the post being taken down, over 4,600 visitors had viewed the post during the time it was still available on the forum. Additionally, the post was shared with many others outside the forum.
Four other instances of online communication — a separate thread on HardwareZone, and three different WhatsApp messages — involving claims on Wuhan coronavirus cases in Singapore, however, were not issued POFMA correction orders, according to the Ministry of Communications and Information in a release yesterday.