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Hong Kong: Facebook reportedly disregards police's requests to remove "defamatory" posts on officers' handling of protesters

Author: Ng Kang-chung, South China Morning Post, Published on: 31 October 2019

“Hong Kong police ask Facebook to remove ‘defamatory’ posts on officers’ handling of protesters, leading to accusations force is stifling free speech”, 30 October 2019

Hong Kong police have asked Facebook to remove posts containing what they said were defamatory or unfounded allegations about their handling of anti-government protests, leading to accusations the force was interfering with free speech.

The Post has learned the social media giant will not delete any of the posts flagged by police despite two formal requests demanding it do so, which also included a call for the company to surrender all relevant information for investigation…

Police raised concerns in a letter… about posts published the previous month…

In its letter, publicly available on its official website, the force said: “As a global social media platform, Facebook absolutely has the responsibility to ensure that contents dispatched by its users are factual and in the public interest.”

Facebook apparently did not heed the police’s demands and the force issued another letter… expressing “extreme disappointment” with the company’s inaction.

In the second letter, the force referred to more “defamatory” posts and again insisted Facebook act decisively against “inaccurate reports” and posts that “provoke hatred”.

“We strongly demand the Hong Kong office of Facebook remove such content and hand over relevant information to police for further investigation,” the… letter read…

Henry Chan Wan-hoi, a critic of the Hong Kong government who is described as an online influencer, said the force’s reaction amounted to interference with basic freedoms…

A Facebook spokesman said: “We can confirm that we have received two letters from the Hong Kong police force regarding Hong Kong protest content on Facebook.”

A police spokeswoman said it was common practice for it to contact organisations and media to set the record straight on untrue or inaccurate reports, and to clarify its position. She declined to comment further…

[Also referred to CNN]

Read the full post here

Related companies: CNN (part of Time Warner) Facebook