Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Singapore tells Facebook, Twitter to carry correction notice on Covid strain

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Singapore on Thursday ordered social media platforms Facebook and Twitter to carry a correction notice to users in the country over what it says is a false statement about a new variant of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) originating in the city-state.

Singapore’s health ministry said a statement is circulating online on media outlets and social media platforms, which implies that a new, previously unknown variant of Covid-19 originated in Singapore and risked spreading to India from the city-state.

Also Read: What we know so far about new Covid strain in Singapore

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal stirred a controversy when he warned the the variant in Singapore can come to India as the third wave and appealed to the Centre to cancel air services with the city-state.

Watch: Singapore to file case against Delhi CM? Kejriwal’s Covid comments cause storm

The South-east Asian country on Wednesday called in the Indian envoy to lodge an objection over Kejriwal’s statement. The ministry of external affairs said that the chief minister “does not speak for India” and Indian high commissioner P Kumaran clarified the matter with his Singapore counterparts.

Singapore’s high commissioner Simon Wong later told a virtual news conference his country was satisfied with the Indian government’s clarification, but reserved the right to invoke a domestic fake news law to prevent the spreading of misinformation.

The correction orders to social media platforms were issued under Singapore’s fake news law, or the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA).

Facebook confirmed receipt of the order and said it was legally compelled to issue the correction notice, news agency Reuters reported.

Twitter has so far not responded to Singapore’s move.

Dismissing the assertions made by Kejriwal, Singapore’s health ministry said that the variant prevalent in many Covid-19 cases in recent weeks was the “B.1.617.2 variant, which originated in India”.

(With inputs from agencies)

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