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Could Singapore Dim Facebook’s Asia Prospects?

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Proposed fake news law raises concerns

Singapore is considering fake news legislation that is concerning to Facebook (FB) and other social media companies in the country. According to Singapore’s drafted fake news law, companies that provide social media services in the country would be required to place warning signs on posts that the government considers false and immediately remove comments that could incite hate or violence. Individuals or companies that breach the law would be hit with heavy fines.

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Although they support efforts to curb online misinformation, Facebook, Twitter (TWTR), and Google (GOOGL) have all voiced their concerns about Singapore’s proposed fake news law. The companies fear that the government could take advantage of the law to stifle freedom of expression and speech, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal.

Facebook’s Asia operations headquartered in Singapore

Facebook has its Asia headquarters in Singapore, meaning what happens in the city-state can affect its business performance in the entire region. According to a Reuters report, Singapore is a low-tax finance hub that has been a beacon of stability in the often turbulent Southeast Asia region. A research report released jointly by Google and Temasek predicts that Southeast Asia’s digital economy will grow to $240 billion by 2025 from $72 billion in 2018.

Last year, Facebook announced a plan to set up its first Asian data center in Singapore as it seeks to expand its compute and storage capacity to meet growing demand for its digital services and capitalize on Southeast Asia’s booming digital economy.

Facebook posts $6.9 billion profit

From its worldwide operations, Facebook made a profit of $6.9 billion in the fourth quarter. Twitter and Yelp (YELP) generated profits of $255 million and $32 million in the fourth quarter, respectively. Snap (SNAP) suffered a loss of $192 million in the fourth quarter.

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