Law and Home Affairs Minister of Singapore, K Shanmugam, has initiated legal proceedings against the popular social media platform TikTok. The move comes after TikTok failed to assist in identifying three users who allegedly uploaded videos making false allegations against him. The minister has dismissed these claims as "false and baseless" and has pursued legal action under the Protection against Harassment Act (POHA).
Shanmugam's Fight Against False Allegations
The false allegations involve the minister being implicated in a series of accusations, including an extramarital affair with Member of Parliament Foo Mee Har. These claims were swiftly rejected by Shanmugam, who took to Facebook to clarify that his ex-wife did not make the allegations, rather they were the work of an imposter.
Shanmugam's lawyers from WongPartnership have filed affidavits seeking court orders to compel TikTok to provide information that could identify the users. TikTok, represented by its lawyers from Rajah & Tann, declined to provide the information without a court order.
Legal Action Against Other Parties
Separate legal proceedings have been initiated by Shanmugam against celebcritic.com, a website that published false statements about him. The State Courts have since issued a stop publication order against the website, further highlighting the minister's determination to combat the so-called "fake news".
Relentless Pursuit for Justice
Despite TikTok's non-cooperation, Shanmugam's lawyers have attempted to contact two of the TikTok users via Facebook, asking them to remove the videos and apologize. The users, however, have not responded to these requests. Shanmugam continues to pursue the identity of the users through legal means, arguing that the request for TikTok to release the information is proportionate to the offense and that the users have breached the platform's agreement not to publish harmful content.
The case is a potent reminder of the personal and societal damage that can be inflicted by the misuse of social media platforms. It also underscores the challenges faced by individuals and legal systems worldwide in tracing anonymous online content creators and holding them accountable for their actions.