In Singapore: A wall of fame...and infamy

SINGAPORE - More than three million of Facebook's users are from Singapore.

While users spend an average of 8.3 hours on Facebook a month, Singaporeans spend more than twice that, at 19.6 hours a month, making an average of 19 posts a month each on top of commenting on other people's posts.

Singapore has also been home to billionaire Eduardo Saverin, one of the five co-founders of Facebook, since 2009. According to social media analytics firm Socialbakers, the largest number of local users are aged 25 to 34, and they make up 34.5 per cent of all users here. Male users are the majority, but only just - 49 per cent are female.

A study by social media consultancy Rock Publicity in 2012 said two-thirds of users access Facebook on their phone and tablet.

Several politicians, both from the People's Action Party and the opposition, are on Facebook.

Among those who started their own pages in the run-up to the 2011 General Election are Cabinet ministers Teo Chee Hean and Tan Chuan-Jin, who joined in March that year, and ministers Lim Swee Say, Grace Fu and Chan Chun Sing, who followed in April 2011.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong joined Facebook on April 20, 2012, and has amassed 260,639 followers. His post last November about a barn owl that flew into the Istana attracted 500,000 views in a day.

According to Socialbakers, his page is the fastest growing in the Politics category, adding more than 800 fans a day.

Among current Cabinet ministers, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan was the earliest to join Facebook, on Sept 5, 2008.

But former minister George Yeo, who joined Facebook in June 2009, has more followers (90,489) than all except Mr Lee.

Among opposition figures, Ms Nicole Seah, who contested the 2011 General Election when she was 24, has 111,311 followers on her Facebook page.

She joined on April 19, 2011, the day Parliament was dissolved by then President S R Nathan.

The Straits Times Facebook page, established on Sept 1, 2009, is ranked as the top fan page in the media category, based on reader engagement. It has 225,000 fans.

Facebook has its warm and fuzzy side as many users post pictures of their babies, pets and cars, while dedicated foodies share pictures and reviews of memorable meals, and even not-so-memorable ones.

One user was dubbed "Facebookie" last year for claiming to be a fixer who knew the results of allegedly rigged football games and hawked betting tips.

Facebook has also turned up in less-than-pleasant incidents here, not least for offensive remarks that were circulated widely.

In October 2012, Ms Amy Cheong, then an assistant director of membership at NTUC, posted a rant about Malay weddings.

Her post triggered an angry backlash. The Australian citizen and Singapore permanent resident later apologised, but was sacked by NTUC and left for Perth.

Last month, Briton Anton Casey sparked controversy with his online remarks about "poor people" on the MRT and having to wash "the stench of public transport" off himself.

In the storm that followed, the senior wealth manager apologised, left with his family for Perth and "parted ways" with his employer, Crossinvest Asia.

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