Singapore GE 2020: IMDA issues notice to Facebook to remove New Naratif's unauthorised paid online election ad

SINGAPORE – The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) has issued a notice to Facebook to remove unauthorised paid online election advertising that was published on the social media platform by website New Naratif, the Elections Department (ELD) said on Friday (July 3).

New Naratif had placed a programmatic paid advertisement on Facebook that continued to be available after Nomination Day (June 30), which amounted to election advertising.

In doing so, it was deemed to be conducting election activity as defined in the Parliamentary Elections Act, although New Naratif was not authorised by any candidate or election agent to conduct election activity.

IMDA, the assistant Returning Officer, thus issued a notice to Facebook to remove the unauthorised paid online election advertising.

Facebook has removed the advertisement, of which IMDA did not give details.

Election advertising is defined as any material that can reasonably be regarded as intended to promote or procure the electoral success at any election for one or more identifiable political parties, candidates or groups of candidates; or to otherwise enhance the standing of any such political parties, candidates or groups of candidates with the electorate in connection with any election.

In the statement, ELD reiterated that the publishing of paid online election advertising requires the authorisation of a candidate or an election agent from the start of the campaign period, which starts from the end of Nomination Day proceedings.

“This ensures accountability, and prevents paid advertisements from being used as a conduit for foreign interference in the elections process, or for political parties and candidates to bypass the election expense limits,” it said.

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