Weeks after removal, political commentary Facebook page Critical Spectator returns

PHOTO: Facebook / Michael Petraeus, Critical Spectator

Just days before Polling Day, Facebook took down Critical Spectator, a page filled with commentaries about Singapore politics by Polish national Michael Petraeus.

Facebook explained that it took action against several accounts and pages for violating its policies. But the takedowns were based on the “violating behaviour of these accounts and pages,” and not related to the pages’ content. 

Weeks after Critical Spectator went down on July 8, Petraeus proclaimed his return to Facebook yesterday (July 28). 

“Missed me?” he posted with a wink and a gif. 

The man explained that Critical Spectator was removed on grounds that he used multiple personal accounts to manage the page, which is against Facebook’s terms and conditions. Facebook doesn’t allow users to misrepresent themselves on the platform or use fake accounts. 

Petraeus claims that he managed to pull some strings and got help from friends with contacts in Facebook to help reinstate the page. 

So, what happened? Why was I gone and how did I get my page back? Most of you have probably have already heard the...

Posted by Critical Spectator on Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Speaking to AsiaOne, a Facebook company spokesperson clarified: “We have restored this page solely in response to steps taken by the admin to rectify violations of our policies, and for no other reasons.”

Following his return, he criticised policies proposed by opposition political parties, particularly Sengkang MP Jamus Lim and his push for a minimum wage scheme in Singapore.

On Paul Krugman, Jamus Lim and Singapore's productivity. --------------- Paul Krugman is a Distinguished Professor of...

Posted by Critical Spectator on Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Ho Ching, the wife of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, reshared a Critical Spectator post on minimum wage after the page made its return. 

The last few posts that went out before Critical Spectator was taken down involved attacks against Terry Xu — editor-in-chief of sociopolitical website The Online Citizen — who made a police report against Critical Spectator. 

Xu had lodged the report against Petraeus for his “clear intent to influence the election by criticising a candidate from a particular party and on policies proposed by various parties”. 

I have just made a police report against Critical Spectator over the posts made in relation to the ongoing General...

Posted by Terry Xu on Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Petraeus responded by accusing Xu of trying to cancel him. 

So Singapore's media freedom fighter, champion of free expression and independent press - supreme commander, great...

Posted by Critical Spectator on Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Prior to the takedown, Petraeus made a name for himself for his right-leaning commentaries and arguing with people on the internet, including Singaporean professor Cherian George. 

Article updated to reflect clarification from Facebook

ilyas@asiaone.com