Top social media stories that broke the Internet for Singapore in 2014

Top social media stories that broke the Internet for Singapore in 2014

SINGAPORE - Derisive online posts that brought a nation's wrath down on one man, a video with the "yeeks" factor, and Facebook rants that backfired. This basically sums up the top social media stories which broke online and went on to hog headlines in Singapore this year.

In some cases, it started out with a social media post that got people talking. In others, it was a piece of raw footage that galvanised public opinion and resuscitated perennial issues.

What is clear from these impactful social media stories is that whatever happens online could lead to serious real life consequences. The Sim Lim Square saga topped our list of Top social media stories that broke the Internet for Singapore in 2014. It exposed shady practices at Sim Lim, and prompted a rethink of existing laws to better safeguards the interests of consumers.

The Straits Times wraps up the year in social media for you:

Sim Lim Square saga

The spark: There was some buzz online after news broke on Nov 1 that a mobile phone shop, ordered by the Small Claims Tribunal to refund $1,010 to a woman, paid her back the amount in coins. But it was nothing compared to the furore set off three days later by a report detailing how another customer, Vietnamese tourist Pham Van Thoai, knelt down at Mobile Air to beg for his money back.

The incident, which first appeared in Lianhe Zaobao, enraged netizens. A video of the incident was sent to citizen journalism website Stomp, and fed the media frenzy. More victims came forward with their accounts of how they were cheated by shops at Sim Lim.

The flare up: The reaction was three-fold. Offers of help for Mr Thoai flooded in, and a crowdfunding campaign by entrepreneur Gabriel Kang raised more than US$12,000 (S$15,900) for the Vietnamese man. The incident and Mr Kang's campaign made international headlines.

Indignation at the outrageous actions of Mobile Air staff boiled over. Overnight, Mobile Air boss Jover Chew became public enemy no. 1. He was pranked and harassed, and his private photographs were splashed online.

What followed were calls to deal with the errant retailers at Sim Lim Square, and for consumer protection to be improved.

The aftermath: Raids were conducted on some shops at the mall, and the management of the IT mall is looking into changing its bylaws so that landlords would have to kick out tenants who run dishonest businesses. Meanwhile, the Government is studying ways to enhance the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act.

Read more here.

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