在6月4日，一名社会活动者和前政治拘留者张素兰在自己的网页上写了一份帖子。这份帖子。这份帖子是详细的叙述有关自己文章：新加坡警察最近刷新情况（most recent brush with the Singapore police.）。他们审讯了她数小时。他们在她的家抄家后拿走了她的死丫头电子设备。这一切仅仅是为了她在武吉巴督补选前的冷静日在自己的脸书个人网页发表帖子。选举局因此向警方投诉她破坏了选举冷静日法令（confusing Cooling-Off Day rules）。还有啥呢？这起事件揭露了，破坏冷静日选举法令是一项视为“触犯了可被逮捕”的法令。这就意味着警方不需要任何的授权令就可以为所欲为。
但是 ，它们不是仅仅删除我的帖子，而是禁止仅我进入脸书24小时（即从我发表那份帖子之时计算起。但是 ，到目前为之，我还是无法进入我脸书户头）
这就是说，我和张素兰不是唯一遇上这件事的人了。最近，博客Andrew Loh也一样有一份帖子——评论冷静日条例被删除。（在Andrew Loh向脸书提出质问后，脸书重新上载了他的帖子，并向他道歉说这无意间删除的。）
恐 懼又再一次侵襲新加坡。1987年5月21日，16個人莫名消失（詳見紀錄片：1987: Untracing the Marxist Conspiracy，公庫：參見上方影片，該影片講述新加坡「光普行動」，多位推動工人權益遭逮被的是勞動社工、文藝界人士、法律界人士、工人黨員、天 主教社工的經歷）；如今，恐懼再度蔓延。
我 不知道誰在背後負責此事。我只知道我並沒有犯任何罪，即便奪取電腦與手機是他們所謂的標準作業程序(SOP)，警方也沒有權利沒收我的財產。許多 人有被奪取電子設備的經驗，包括多位社會改革者。例如：電影製作人李成琳、漫畫家周平易、余澎杉、Ravi, Kumaran、鄞義林、蔡振成、林顯洋，除此之外，還有很相同經驗的受害者媒體沒有報導。
5 月28日禮拜六晚上9點55分，警察到我住的公寓，要我隔週一(5/30）早上9點30分到警局「談談」。禮拜天早上9點30分，警察又來威脅 我。他們按鈴，我害怕他們會逮捕我，所以沒有開門。我問他們到底想幹嘛？一位男子回應說，有一封信要給我，我回答這封信我已經收過。他說，想要確認我是否 會赴約，還給我一個電話號碼方便連繫。
5月30日，我前往警察局。我對選舉局質疑的4個網路貼文，表明了我的想法。我承認我該為那些貼文負責，但我是基於憲法的保障，在「冷靜日」表達意見， 我並沒有觸法。直到今天，他們並沒有因為認為我觸法而判我有罪，反而是威脅我，奪取我的手機與電腦。當我拒絕交出我的手機時，4或5名警察威脅將我戴上手 銬、逮捕我，其餘的警察則在走廊上徘徊。我為我們的警察感到羞恥。為何要威脅我？為何要有這麼多的警力？但更荒唐的是，之前還曾有4名警察到學校逮捕林俊輝，一名14歲的孩子，法醫目前正在調查他自殺的死因。
警 方奪取了我的財產，包含我的資料，他們讀了我所有的私人文件，也知道誰是我的朋友。警察犯了罪，侵犯了我的隱私權。我非常生氣，但求助無門。我們 沒有國家人權部門，但馬來西亞、印尼、泰國與緬甸，這些被我們認為發展比新加坡落後的國家都有這樣的機構。我要到哪裡申訴呢？到總理的「與民有約」的會議 嗎？我能夠到總理管轄的部門去控告總理嗎？
In which I’m blocked from Facebook for… what?
I was in the middle of unpacking, surrounded by boxes and garbage bags, when it happened. I stopped to check my phone, and my Facebook app suddenly declared that my session had timed out and that I would be required to log in again.
Huh, weird. But whatever.
The first thing I saw after I keyed in my password was this:
On 4 July, activist and former political detainee Teo Soh Lung wrote a post on her personal Facebook page detailing her most recent brush with the Singapore police. They had interrogated her for hours, then raided her home and seized all her electronic devices, simply because the Elections Department had complained that her Facebook posts on the eve of a by-election was in breach of Singapore’s confusing Cooling-Off Day rules. What’s more, the incident revealed that breaching Cooling-Off Day rules is an “arrestable offence”, which meant that the police didn’t even need warrants to do what they did.
Soh Lung was understandably upset by the whole episode, and was vocal about what she felt was police harassment.
That same day, she received this:
For some reason, Soh Lung’s post about her experience and opinion of the police was deemed in breach of Facebook’s Community Standards. It made no sense – it wasn’t abusive or bullying. It was an important message about police powers and due process; something that all Singaporeans should be aware of and discuss.
I found it ridiculous that her post would be removed. It was suspected that the post had been removed not by an individual at Facebook, but because some algorithm had been triggered by people reporting it en masse. Many felt that it could be the ruling People’s Action Party’s ‘Internet Brigade’: a coordinated group whose job is to troll dissenters and opponents.
I then wrote a Facebook post of my own, detailing how Soh Lung’s post had been removed before reproducing the text in full. I encouraged others to do the same; to copy and paste Soh Lung’s message and republish it on their own Facebook pages so it would be harder for trolls to remove it from circulation.
So when I received my own Facebook takedown notification this afternoon, I assumed that this was the post that had been reported. It was “censorception”, perhaps: the removal of my post about the removal of Soh Lung’s post.
But not only was my post removed, I was also banned from logging into Facebook for 24 hours (at the time of writing, I still have no access):
Thanks to this, I also have no access to other accounts that use Facebook to login: Spotify, Goodreads, etc.
Then things got stranger.
Over dinner, I borrowed my husband’s phone and used his Facebook account to check my page. Surprisingly, the post I had written about the removal of Soh Lung’s post was still available on my page:。
I took a look at my Facebook notification again:
Upon closer examination, it was not my post that Facebook had taken issue with. It was the fact that I had shared Soh Lung’s original post. Which is absolutely bizarre, because:
Soh Lung’s post had been taken down by Facebook on 4 July, which presumably means it disappeared from the feeds of all who shared it. Why find fault with me today, 7 July?
Why am I being blocked from Facebook when I wasn’t even the actual author of the post; merely someone who shared it? (I don’t even think Soh Lung herself was banned for 24 hours!)
I was not the only other person who shared Soh Lung’s post; I know other friends did too. Yet I haven’t heard from any of them that they were similarly banned.
That said, Soh Lung and I are by no means the only people this has happened to. Recently, blogger Andrew Loh also had a post – comments he made regarding the Cooling-Off Day rules – removed. Facebook later reinstated the post and apologised, saying it was an accident.
Being blocked from Facebook is a silly thing; seemingly trivial in the scheme of things. But if it is indeed possible for a coordinated group to mass report a post just to remove it from circulation it means that Facebook algorithms can be gamed to silence dissent; a serious thing in a country like Singapore, where there is already so little space for civil society or organising.
The questions remain: how did these posts get removed? Was it an automatic process, or did someone at Facebook really decide they breached the standards? If the latter, what standards were breached? Is Facebook now complicit in online repression?
I reproduce Teo Soh Lung’s original post below:
Police Terror by Teo Soh Lung
These days, my sister calls me every morning just to make sure that I have not been arrested by the police. And my friends call me occasionally to ensure that I am still “free”. My old classmate, Ivy Singh-Lim of Bollywood Veggies, a loyal and vocal Singaporean offered me a safe haven at her farm, assuring me that she would set her dogs on the police if they dare go there to arrest me.
Terror has once again struck Singapore. On 21 May 1987, 16 people disappeared at dawn and no one knew where they were till a few days later. You can watch the documentary film “1987: Untracing the Marxist Conspiracy by Jason Soo at the Projector. Today, this fear is again widespread.
I do not know who is in charge of our police. And I do not know who instructed them to terrorise me. All I know is that I have not committed any crime and that the police have no right to seize my properties even though the seizure of computers and mobile phones are their SOP or standard operating procedures. Seizure of electronic equipment has happened to many people, several of them activists. We have Lynn Lee, the filmmaker, Leslie Chew, the cartoonist, Amos Yee, the attention seeking kid who badmouth both friends and foes, Ravi, Kumaran, Roy Ngerng, Jason Chua, the famous PAP IB, Bryan Lim, the hot-head and probably countless others who have not been reported in the press. BEWARE law abiding people. You may not have committed any crime. But if the police are after your computers and mobile phones, they may one day go to your house or call you up for an innocuous interview at the police station. And when you are there, they can grab you to their police vehicle, drive you home and order you to open your door for them to enter and ransack your house. I am not kidding you. It happened to me and Roy Ngerng. And it can happen to you.
I went to the police station on 31 May, having received a notice to answer the baseless complaints of the Election Department. This department is exceedingly powerful for it is controlled by our prime minister. I am not sure the complaints were lodged at his command but whoever did that must, I assume, must have informed him. The manner in which the notice was delivered to me was to say the least, purposefully intimidating. The police came to my flat at about 9.55 pm on Saturday, 28 May. They left the notice half in and half out of my door. The notice required me to attend an “interview” at 9.30am on Monday. They came to check if I took in the letter two hours later. They loitered in my estate till well past midnight, perhaps to make sure that I did not leave my house.
The police came to intimidate me again at 9.30 am the next day, a Sunday. They rang my door bell but I did not open the door because I was afraid that they would arrest me. I asked what they wanted and a male voice said they wanted to deliver a letter. It was the same letter that I received and I told him so. He wanted to make sure that I attend the “interview” and was helpful in giving me another telephone number.
Dutifully, I turned up at the police station on 31 May. I gave my statement regarding the four postings which the Election Department complained about. I admitted that I was the one responsible for the postings. I denied that I had committed any offence and told them it was my constitutional right to express my opinion on Cooling Off Day. What more do the police want? Charge me in court if they think I have committed an offence. But they did not do that, at least until now. Instead of allowing me to go home, they threatened to seize my mobile phone and then my computer. When I refused to give them my mobile phone, 4 or 5 police officers entered the room and threatened to handcuff me and arrest me while several others patrolled the corridor. I could see them because the wall partition was glass.
I am amazed and ashamed at the kind of police force we have today. Why threaten me, a pioneer citizen, 5 feet tall at most and weighing about 40 kg? Why so many police officers? But then, I should not have been shocked. The coroner’s inquiry of the cause of death of 14 year old Benjamin Lim who committed suicide is ongoing. Four police officers went to his school to arrest him, a 14 year old boy.
Eight police officers, 4 of whom were from the forensic department, came to my house. Why do they need 8 police officers to seize my computers and mobile phone? I did not commit a murder or possess guns. If this is not intimidation by sheer numbers, then what is? Fortunately, my friends were earlier than the police and they could enter my house at the same time as the police. And best of all, they could witness the police seizing my properties.
The police have robbed me of my properties and gravely inconvenienced me. They have mined my data. They have seen and read all my private documents and know who are my friends. They have invaded my privacy. They have committed a crime. I am angry. But where is my recourse? We do not have a national human rights institution which our so called less developed neighbours have – Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Myanmar. Where do I complain about my grievances? To the prime minister at his “Meet the People” session? At the 2nd hearing of Singapore’s human rights record at the United Nations Universal Periodic Review, the Singapore government said I could do that. But what is the point of complaining to the prime minister about something that he authorised?
This is my Singapore. This is your Singapore. We are a police state. For the slightest irritation, Singaporeans run to the police. But when the police commit a wrong, where do we run to?