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Fake advertisements that try to pass off as Straits Times Facebook posts surface online

Prisca Ang on 02 Nov 2019

The Straits Times


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SINGAPORE - Two fake advertisements that try to pass off as Facebook posts by The Straits Times have surfaced on the social media platform.


When a user clicks on the advertisements, he is directed to genuine ST articles which seem related to the advertisements at first glance. But the ST stories are actually not related to the text and images used in the fake advertisements.


One of the advertisements shows a photo of actress Zoe Tay and an image of someone holding what looks like a microchip.


The fake ST Facebook blurb says: "She opens up about a smart backdoor that helped her to recover from the past failures." The headline reads: "She Know It Will Make Noise But She Can't Keep Quiet Anymore."


The fake advertisement leads to an ST article in which Tay talks about coaching her second son Ashton for the Primary School Leaving Examination. The photo used in the article is different from the image used in the Facebook advertisement.


The second fake ST Facebook blurb uses a doctored picture of Singapore singer Stefanie Sun and links to an ST article in which Sun talks about encouraging her son after he lost a competition.


There have been other fake ST Facebook posts in the past. In 2016, a Facebook post was circulated in which the headline of an ST article, on then President Tony Tan Keng Yam conveying his best wishes to Thailand's new King and inviting him to visit Singapore, had been modified.


The modified headline suggested that Dr Tan invited Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn to visit Singapore to eat fried chicken.


•Not sure if something is fake news? Readers can send an e-mail with their questions and a link to the suspect article to askst@sph.com.sg


•Reports published can be found on the ST website under a special "fake news debunked" section at http://str.sg/fake-news




Some ways to determine if an online article is genuine or not:


  • Users can navigate through the site to check if the contact information provided is legitimate.
  • They can navigate around the site to see if the rest of the site works. If it leads to just a bunch of dead links, then that's a sign something is not quite right.
  • They can also do a simple look-up search (https://www.whois.net) to find out who or which organisation the website is registered to.
  • If their information source is a Facebook Page, they can check to see if the entity regularly posts real or satirical content.
  • Another telltale sign: Check if the people leaving comments on the posts have called it out to be fake.

Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.


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