POFMA’ed V2021.05.20

This update includes the POFMA use on 20 May, requested by the Minister of Health. An unknown number of communications are affected by this POFMA use, as they require Facebook, Twitter and the HardwareZone Forum to “carry the Correction Notice to all end-users in Singapore” who use these platforms — instead of only on the pages where ‘false statements’ were shared.

Facebook has created this notice for users in Singapore. This notice only appears the first time a user enters their Facebook feeds.
HardwareZone Forum’s notice, which now features at the top of all site pages.
Twitter’s notice, delivered to Singapore users’ notification feeds.

These correction directions are aimed at statements which imply that “a new, previously unknown variant of COVID-19 originated in Singapore and/or risks spreading to India from Singapore”. Such statements were shared by Delhi’s Chief Minister. On 19 May, the High Commissioner of Singapore to India Simon Wong reportedly said that “we reserve the right to invoke POFMA on some of the comments and assertions made by the honorable chief minister on this topic”.

This marks the first General Correction Directions used since 27 January 2020, when a General Correction Direction was issued to SPH Magazines Pte Ltd over a HardwareZone Forum post “claiming that a man has died from the Wuhan coronavirus infection in Singapore”.

Changelog (v2021.05.20)

  • Inclusion of 1 new report and 3 new POFMA uses, affecting an unknown number of communications.
A note on this dataset’s methodology and sources

The sources used in data collection are government reports (POFMA Office press releases and Gov.sg Factually articles). Media reports and direct sources (the communications themselves) are also used to verify the actor type and accessibility of the communications. A full description of the dataset’s methodology can be found here, and the full dataset can be downloaded here.

Note that this is how the dataset defines reports, uses and communications:

  • A report is a government press release issued to announce a use of the legislation.
  • Within a single report, one can find multiple distinct directions or orders under POFMA. Each of these are classified as a distinct use of POFMA.
  • Each direction or order can affect multiple distinct electronic communications, such as a Facebook post or website article.

For example:

  • According to Report 1, a Facebook post is the subject of a correction direction, issued to Individual A.
  • According to Report 2, this same Facebook post is also the subject of a targeted correction direction, issued to Facebook.

The POFMA’ed dataset would thus track that Facebook post as one communication, subject to two distinct POFMA uses, according to two distinct reports.

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Are you thinking of using this dataset? I’m keen to improve this dataset’s accuracy and useability to others, and am always eager to hear your thoughts and feedback. If you have thoughts, comments or suggestions, please do direct them towards POFMAed@gmail.com. A big thank you to the academics and journalists who’ve been giving me your feedback and advice. It is greatly appreciated!