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Media Literacy Council apologises for FB post classifying satire as fake news

The Media Literacy Council (MLC) has apologised for an infographic posted on Facebook that “gave the wrong impression” that satire is fake news, clarifying that it was not its intent after receiving much backlash from netizens.

The initial post, which has since been taken down, was published on 5 September and said that fake news can take on many forms such as false content, imposter content, manipulated content, misleading content, clickbait and satire. However, many netizens took offence at the inclusion of satire, arguing that falsehood does not cover “opinions, criticisms, satire or parody” in the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act, according to the comments seen by Marketing before the post was removed. Meanwhile, others added that many fictional literary works dabbled in satire, therefore MLC’s post is “fake news” itself and should be retracted.

The previous post garnered at least 12o comments and 160 shares. In one of MLC’s replies to the comments, it explained that the post is part of its efforts in educating the public on identifying different aspects that could be “construed” as fake news. It has also developed the “Get Smart with Sherlock” fact-checking kit listing examples of possible scenarios which fake news can be spread, as well as instances of people being “fooled by a satirical article in which the irony or humour is not readily apparent”.

It further explained that the original aim of the post was to encourage readers to “understand the context” in which information is presented as well as “online discernment”. MLC also added that it is sorry for the confusion and will be reviewing its material. MLC latest apology’s has since garnered approximately 110 shares and the council thanked netizens for bringing the misleading post to its attention. Marketing has reached out to MLC for more comments.

We acknowledge that the post and infographic gave the wrong impression that satire was fake news, which was not the…

Posted by Media Literacy Council on Sunday, 8 September 2019

Separately in 2018, MLC also made headlines when it published a Facebook post for parents to spot signs of their children becoming cyber-bullies. While done with positive intention, the post resulted in netizens commenting that the traits mentioned were over simplified and could just be “normal teenage behaviour”. This ultimately led to MLC issuing a second, candid light-hearted post saying these were just “generic posts”. However, the second post also did not appease netizens, with several saying that the organisation tried to “laugh [the matter] off”, and the apology came off somewhat insincere.

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Meanwhile last week, social media giant Facebook was also called out by Sarah Pappalardo the co-founder of feminist satire site Reductress, for unfair reduction of its content distribution because of “repeated sharing of clickbait”. In a tweet, she sarcastically said:

Pappalardo also described the move by Facebook as a case of “ignorant regulation” and said that women satire is a genre is “relegated to being clickbait”m, according to multiple media outlets. The post, which drawn over 180 likes and near to 20 comments, has gotten mixed opinions from netizens.

Read more:
PM Lee stands by falsehood bill, as Malaysia looks to tackle fake news differently
SG govt calls Human Rights Watch ‘biased’ in its view of online falsehood bill
SG Media Literacy Council kerfuffle: When do you ‘laugh off’ online detractors?
IMDA concludes social media pitch for Media Literacy Council
Singapore government passes fake news bill, rebuts naysayers in parliament
Facebook to (literally) shrink visibility of fake news shared on platform

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