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Facebook takes down page that misleadingly quoted Shanmugam for violating community guidelines

SINGAPORE — Facebook removed the NUSSU — NUS Students United (NSU) page on Saturday (Nov 23) for violating its authenticity policies, a day after it was called out by the press secretary to Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam for misleadingly quoting the minister.

NUS Students United (NSU) used a quote from Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam to assert that Ms Rachel Ong Sin Yen, a new face in the People’s Action Party, should resign from her executive positions with Rohei Learning and Consulting — an organisation that NSU said has “religious leanings” — if she wishes to run for the next General Election.

NUS Students United (NSU) used a quote from Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam to assert that Ms Rachel Ong Sin Yen, a new face in the People’s Action Party, should resign from her executive positions with Rohei Learning and Consulting — an organisation that NSU said has “religious leanings” — if she wishes to run for the next General Election.

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SINGAPORE — Facebook removed the NUSSU — NUS Students United (NSU) page on Saturday (Nov 23) for violating its authenticity policies, a day after it was called out by the press secretary to Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam for misleadingly quoting the minister.

The page was removed as it was found to be run by fake accounts, a Facebook spokesperson said on Sunday in response to TODAY’s queries. 

“We have removed the fake accounts, causing the page to be unpublished,” the spokesperson said. “This was the reason for the page being unpublished, not (because of the) content that was posted on the page.”

Facebook’s authenticity policy states, among other things, that it requires people to connect on Facebook using the name that they go by in everyday life because it believes that people are more accountable for their statements and actions when they use their real identities. 

“In line with our commitment to authenticity, we don’t allow people to misrepresent themselves on Facebook, use fake accounts, artificially boost the popularity of content or engage in behaviours designed to enable other violations under our community standards,” the policy states. 

Mr Goh Chour Thong, Mr Shanmugam’s press secretary, said in a media statement on Friday that NSU had misused Mr Shanmugam’s quote to make a false statement.

The quote, an extract from what Mr Shanmugam said in Parliament on Oct 7, reads: “If we do not separate religion from politics, then whose religion comes into politics?”

NSU used the quote to assert that Ms Rachel Ong Sin Yen, a new face in the People’s Action Party, should resign from her executive positions with Rohei Learning and Consulting — an organisation that NSU said has “religious leanings” — if she wishes to run for the next General Election.

Ms Ong, the chief executive officer of Rohei Learning and Consulting, was one of four young party activists who were introduced at the PAP65 Awards and Convention at the Singapore Expo on Nov 10, which was held to mark the 65th anniversary of PAP’s founding.

Responding to the post, Mr Goh said that the NSU’s assertions directly contradicted with what Mr Shanmugam had said in Parliament. 

Mr Shanmugam, who is also the Law Minister, had said that Members of Parliament (MPs), even Ministers, can hold positions in religious organisations.

In the media statement, Mr Goh also noted that the NSU Facebook page is neither the official page of the National University of Singapore’s (NUS) Student Union, nor its affiliate’s page. 

He added that the name appears to have been “disingenuously chosen” to lead readers to assume that the views espoused on the page are being expressed by NUS or its students. 

He then reminded the public to be more discerning of those who launch such attacks “from behind the anonymity of the Internet”.

Related topics

K Shanmugam Ministry of Home Affairs Singapore politics religion Facebook

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