Facebook Post on Death of Singaporean Child Gets Deleted After POFMA Issued Correction Notice

In a now-deleted post uploaded on 14 August 2021, Facebook user Eileen Loh falsely stated that a three-year-old child passed away due to COVID-19 at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital and that the child’s death was intentionally not reported.

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Singapore’s Ministry of Health (MOH) noticed the misleading Facebook post claiming that the preschooler succumbed to the virus. Consequently, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung ordered the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA) Office to issue a General Correction Direction to the social media company.

A General Correction Direction requires Internet intermediaries, telecommunication and broadcast licensees, as well as newspaper and printing press organisations with operational permits to relay a correction notice to their Singaporean users. This is usually issued when an untruthful statement has been communicated on their watch.

Credit: Channel News Asia

In this case, Facebook was required to place a correction notice that included a link to the facts of the case on the post. The MOH emphasised that this would have helped users understand that such a falsehood was shared on the site.

The ministry clarified that as of 14 August, no child has died from COVID-19 at any hospital in the country, including the medical facility mentioned above. As Loh also fabricated the presence of the COVID-19 Delta Plus variant in Singapore, the agency debunked this assertion.

In light of this situation, the Singaporean health ministry called on citizens to prevent spreading fake news online.

"We urge the public not to spread unsubstantiated information, which may cause public alarm. Please visit www.moh.gov.sg for latest updates on the COVID-19 situation," wrote MOH in a statement.

Written by Sophia Lopez

LG side