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SG Govt confirms paying social media influencers in their engagement with them

In response to WP MP Gerald Giam’s parliamentary query, SMS Tan Kiat How confirmed the Singapore government’s paid engagement with social media influencers as part of its communication strategy to connect with the Singaporean audience.



SINGAPORE: The Singapore government has acknowledged its practice of collaborating with social media influencers as part of its communication strategy to reach the Singaporean audience.

During the Wednesday (6 March) Parliamentary sitting, Mr Tan Kiat How, Senior Minister of State (SMS) for Communications and Information clarified that although the ministry does not allocate a dedicated budget for social media influencer engagement, influencers may be involved if their efforts complement the broader communication initiatives of the government.

“We evaluate the effectiveness of our public communications campaigns but we do not solely track how influencers fare,” he added.

He was responding to a Parliamentary Question (PQ) filed by Mr Gerald Giam Yean Song, Workers’ Party (WP) Member of Parliament for Aljunied GRC.

Mr Giam asked the Minister whether MCI has a budget for engaging social media influencers. If so, how much is the budget, what are the contents that influencers are engaged to publicise; and how will the success of influencer campaigns be measured.

Following SMS Tan’s response, Mr Giam then further presented two supplementary questions.

Firstly, he inquired whether influencers engaged by the government would be mandated to openly and explicitly declare the sponsoring agency in their posts.

Additionally, he sought to know if this requirement would extend to influencers sponsored by election candidates or political parties.

In response, SMS Tan referred Mr Giam to his previous responses to his WP colleagues Ms He Ting Ru, WP MP for Sengkang GRC and former WP MP Leon Perera during the COS debate for MCI last year.

“He (Mr Perera) was strictly referring to the paid partnership. so I actually told the position that the influencer that he mentioned has also put the sponsorship or paid by (and displayed with agencies) logo. So that this has supposedly answered.”

However, regarding Mr Giam’s question on the extension of disclosure requirements to election campaigns, SMS Tan suggested that Mr Giam direct this question to the relevant ministry instead.

“I think this is slightly different from the question that you filed under MCI, my proposal is for Mr Giam to file it to the right ministry.”

SGAG “#sp” post raised transparency concerns

In November 2022, social media platform Wake Up, Singapore brought to light that SGAG, a popular content creator, was engaging in sponsored posts for the Government.

The revelation sparked concern as these sponsored posts were only identified by the hashtag #SP, lacking clear indications of being sponsored content. The absence of explicit disclosure raised questions about transparency and the need for clearer guidelines.

During the MCI budget debate last year, Ms He raised concerns about the transparency and accountability of public relations, outreach, and advertising campaigns run by state agencies.

She also mentioned prominent advertising campaigns related to the Ministry of National Development’s efforts to keep public housing affordable. While she acknowledged the importance of public awareness and education efforts, she questioned the effectiveness of such significant expenditures.

She queried whether MCI assess the effectiveness of various campaigns and outreach programs across ministries and why are reports of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) not being published.

Mr Perera expressed concern about the lack of transparency in certain advertisements, citing a specific SGAG Instagram post labelled only as “#sp,” without utilizing the sponsored post indicator.

To address this, he proposed the inclusion of clear labels on all government advertisements, indicating the responsible agency, similar to the labelling requirement for political ads under the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation (POFMA) Office.

SMS Tan later replied, “Mr Perera referred to SGAG. SGAG ads show paid partnership. This is already being done.”

Netizens criticized SGAG’s recent sponsored post as “wasting taxpayer money”

Despite SMS Tan’s assurance regarding the government’s paid engagement with social media influencers for effective communication, a recent sponsored post on SGAG Instagram page has sparked controversy among netizens, prompting a reevaluation of the necessity for such advertisements.

The contentious post depicts a couple admiring a baby, with the father humorously naming the child after “someone who’s been supporting us through the hard times!”

When prompted by the mother, he humorously responds, “Welcome to the world, Lawrence Wong!”

In the caption, SGAG elaborates on Budget 2024 announcements: “But for real, with the recent Budget 2024 announcements, Singaporeans can expect support with the Parenthood Provisional Housing Scheme Voucher, reduced monthly childcare fee caps and enhanced existing preschool subsidies. ”

Linking to MOF’s official Budget website, the caption wrote: “These measures will help young couples start a family with less worries.”

The disclosure of the post’s paid partnership with MOF is included in the last line.

The disclosure of the post’s government-paid partnership ignited widespread criticism.

Numerous netizens criticized the use of taxpayer funds for what they perceived as political promotion, deeming it inappropriate.

Some expressed disappointment, questioning the allocation of taxpayer money on what appeared to be self-promotion by ostensibly non-partisan civil servants.

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The foolish people of SG forced to pay and buy Shit Times. Citizens forced to own Shit Times.
Now revealed the people also paid for influencers to ownself influence ownself (citizens paid influencers for telling us why PAP SCREWED us which this PAP dared do so using Tax payers money).

Wa, you got shitty times to propaganda for you not enough.

Now you use influencers to do all your dirty work.

And dare not DISCLOSE IN YOUR MINISTRY’s Budget statement and pretend don’t know how much spend or whether effective.

Don’t PRETEND ANYMORE, TELL US CLEARLY GOT USE OUR money for Erections work?

Dear netizens……it is clear that we cannot be giving them jobs when their contract ends NEXT YEAR, right?

PAP really transformed into sub standard castaways – have to MAKE USE of tax payers money to remain relevant AND SELL their benefits too al thorough breads which ACTUALLY has followed Kuan Yew to his grave.

And THE PAP is PREACHING, CONVERTING, BAPTISING Foreign Trash into PAP worshippers. Of course the PAP would give the silly excuse they modernise, reach out, take advantage of tech.

Rhetoric moves u nowwhere PAP – it’s via actions and results that people take notice. By your influencers can bring INFLATION DOWN?

“Whoever governs Singapore must have that iron in him. Or give it up. This is not a game of cards! This is your life and mine”! …LKY…

Looks like desperate times for the PAP crooks.

Running scared they can’t convince voters solely on their own merits anymore.
Now needing to get outside help to convince & confuse the peasants?

Look at ALL the GIANT BOLD Banners covering everywhere island wide proclaiming H Raya, CNY, Deepavali wishes – whose money is PAP Administration blatantly misusing?

All MUST remember to CANCEL the PAP when X – are they HORRENDOUSLY Criminal and Corrupted (Keppel Briberies, Phey Yew Kok, Iswaran On leave from Prosecution (?), Bungalows Rental Criminality Absolve, Hep C patients homicide (?)….?

Opposition irresponsible, raiding reserves, spending future money – NOT a DIRT of facts or truths – this PAP resorts to ACCUSATIONS to COVER up own crimes.

Come on Singapreans – PAP has stabbed Singapreans back, INSTEAD Lawlan Wong said have our backs – which is which and whose backs?

So desperate ah?
Already control all media and even internet service providers and still use tax payers money to pay influencers to spread INFLUENZA!!
So either they must be doing something NOT RIGHT, that they are losing the trust of voters or they think can influenced the already daft locals to be even dafter!😆😆😆😆🤣🤣🤣🤣

Now we know pro-pap people in social media are paid by pap. Only fool support these pro-pap people in social media.

A bloated cabinet, a bloated Parliament, and a bloated civil service, still cannot get the job done? You are using taxpayers’ monies to pay influencers to promote your policies and yourselves. By doing this, taxpayers’ are also funding the influencer. The shit brains of the PAPis once again showing. LW promoting himself? Shameless group of scums and is this how Tharman got his 70%? Please use your own monies to promote yourselves.

Not the first time right? Using taxpayer’s money to promote what? Look very much like promoting their Party and their MP more than for public awareness of issues.

Spending the peoples monies, like it’s theirs to do as they please, and what more, … to promote, propagate and proliferate theirs and only their agenda/s !!! Come election year/s, the budget for the PA is in the billion mark, and, … they have the gall and the majority, to shout down the opposition for “raiding the reserves” !!! Not wholly satisfied with absolute control of the entire island’s media and radio platforms, … this regime decided they want and need “media influencers” who’ll only “sing their tunes” and “preach their sermons”, … all paid for with taxpayers monies !!!… Read more »

Abusing taxpayers hard earned money for nefarious political gain – how is this ever justifiable?…oh yes it is “justifiable fully” because pap holds absolute power which corrupted them absolutely. Everything and every public institution, and I mean ALL public institutions, all come under pap control. Of course, everything is justifiable under pap. Remember Cheng San GRC 1km radius rule fiasco? Goh CT inside polling booth ( not suppose to be there by law) was ruled as NOT within 1 km radius of polling booth, some smart judge ruled. Pap win oredi again and again lor.

Payments to influencers is itself A MORAL CRIME meant to sway opinions, attempt to right wrongs.

Strip of payments – what’s the value of influencers and the value of their contents?

When this PAP Administration makes payments to influencers THIS IS A CRIME, esp MORALLY wrong, RAIDING National State Money paid by citizens as taxes to FURTHER and ACHIEVE it’s Political control.

And where is the well deserved money for social good, for reduction inflation instead, to assist the poor?