Recommended ReadsDecember 10th, 2019

Singapore orders Facebook to remove content critical of the government – not just within Singapore, but globally

Chris Marmo
Chris Marmo, Chief Executive Officer

Recently, the government of Singapore ordered Facebook to remove a post that an Australian user created that was critical of the government. Singapore has strict media control laws, and Facebook’s tendency is to yield to local jurisdictions whenever it can. This time is a little more complex though – the government of Singapore are not just asking for the content to be blocked in Singapore; they want it removed for everybody, everywhere.

Governments can and should determine the laws the govern their own countries, but how should a private entity respond to such a request? The power of a company like Facebook comes not only from the data it collects and maintains, but from controlling the ways in which that information flows. Californian ideals around free-speech and the everywhere-but-nowhere rhetoric of cloud computing will continue to be challenged by the real and messy business of borders, territories and the sovereignty of states that are themselves trying to wrestle control of information flows.

Subscribe to Paper Giant

Once a fortnight we share our thoughts on design-related topics, review thought-provoking articles and share what's happening in and out of the studio.

Three paper airplanes flying through the air into people's inboxes.
Paper Giant

Paper Giant acknowledges the Wurundjeri and Boonwurrung people of the Kulin nation, and the Ngunnawal people as the Traditional Owners of the lands on which our offices are located, and the Traditional Owners of Country on which we meet and work throughout Australia.

We recognise that sovereignty over the land has never been ceded, and pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are advised that this website may contain images and voices of deceased people.