Singapore on May 20 ordered Facebook and Twitter to carry a correction notice to users of the social media platforms in the country over what it says is a false statement about a new virus variant originating in Singapore.
The Ministry of Health said that it is aware of a false statement circulating online by multiple media outlets and social media platforms that implies that a “previously unknown variant of COVID-19” originated in Singapore and/or risks spreading to India from Singapore.
Health Minister Ong Ye Kung has instructed the POFMA (Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act) Office to issue general correction directions to the social media giants.
The false rumour started floating on the internet when Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said in a Twitter post that a new form of the virus that was particularly harmful to children had come to Singapore, and urged the government to ban the flights.
Mr. Kejriwal was criticized from Both the Singapore and Indian governments, saying his comments were not based on facts and were irresponsible.
A spokesperson for Facebook said the company had received “a direction from the Singapore Government in relation to a claim they determined contains false information”.
The health minister also said that there is no evidence of any COVID-19 variant that is ‘extremely dangerous for kids.’
The strain that is prevalent in many COVID-19 cases in Singapore in recent weeks is the B16172 variant, which originated in India, added the Health Ministry.