MHA: TikTok accounts reported, but no hostile information campaign found in S’pore

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The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has told TikTok that it will review several accounts that appear inauthentic, although it said it did not detect a coordinated hostile information campaign against Singapore to influence the country. public opinion on the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Answer questions from The time of the straits (ST), MHA said on March 25 that it had noticed accounts of “opinions (expressed) repeatedly to give the misleading impression of widespread local opposition to the government’s position”, referring to comments that have surfaced on TikTok condemning Singapore sanctions against Russia.

The nature of TikTok makes it difficult for casual users to tell if accounts are run by real users, as people can start posting using just an email account.

But a TikTok spokesperson told ST it has reviewed all reported accounts but would not take action against them as they do not violate its guidelines.

A spokesperson for MHA told ST:

“We have detected TikTok accounts involved in local online discussions about the Ukraine conflict, with characteristics that suggest they may be inauthentic.”

The spokesperson further warned: “Foreign actors may want to sway local opinion in their favour, gain mainstream support, or even turn the public against positions taken by the government, for their own interests.”

When asked why the Protection Against Online Lies and Manipulation Act, which seeks to correct misrepresentations of facts made online that could harm the national interest, has yet to be used against these actors, MHA said the accounts they detected are more likely to use an online space swarming strategy with opinions.

“(They) galvanize others towards their opinion, and not necessarily by spreading false statements of fact per se”, said MHA.

According to an online survey conducted on March 9 and 10 by Blackbox researchthe reality of public opinion is very different from the biased impression of Russian support given by the mass of online commentators.

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Research shows that a large majority of 95% of the 1,711 Singaporeans polled most supported or sympathized with Ukraine in the conflict, and six in 10 agreed with Singapore’s decision to impose sanctions on Russia .

Several government agencies and private companies have imposed or attempted to impose bans on the social media service TikTok. Countries like India and the United States have raised concerns about the Chinese company’s ownership of the app, ByteDancetrying to ban it from app stores.

Countries like Indonesia and Bangladesh have banned it based on pornography concerns, while others like Armenia and Azerbaijan have restrictions in place to mitigate the spread of information that could lead to conflicts.

ByteDance plans to make Singapore its beachhead for the rest of Asia as part of its global expansion, ST reported in 2020. The Beijing-based company is looking to spend several billion dollars and create hundreds of jobs over the next few years in the Republic. , where she applied for a license to operate a digital bank.

ByteDanceThe Beijing-based tech giant has developed an online financial services and payment platform modeled after Alibaba’s Ant Group, with preparations nearing an advanced stage, local news outlet Tech Planet reported. in April last year.


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The MHA post: TikTok accounts flagged, but no hostile news campaign found in S’pore appeared first on The Independent News.

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