Critical Spectator ‘pulled strings’ to reinstate page removed by Facebook

Screenshot of the Critical Spectator Facebook page. Image Facebook
Screenshot of the Critical Spectator Facebook page. Image Facebook

A Facebook page popular for its largely right-wing take on Singapore’s politics and current affairs resurfaced three weeks after it was deplatformed.

Several new posts were up on the Critical Spectator page since Monday, including one explaining how its owner, identified as Polish national Michael Petraeus, managed to get the page reinstated by pulling “all the strings” after it was removed by Facebook during the election period.

While the page owner had acknowledged that using multiple profiles was wrong, he defended himself by saying it was a normal thing to do.

“Most of the people I know have anything between two to five different accounts,” he wrote

The social media company on July 8 confirmed with reporters that it had removed the administrator accounts of the Critical Spectator page for violating inauthentic behavior policies the same period a team set up to focus on Singapore’s General Elections was actively surveilling its platform for such behavior. 

According to Facebook’s Community Standards, it does not allow people to misrepresent themselves, use fake accounts, or engage in behaviors designed to enable other violations of its policies. 

Petraeus said he reached out to contacts within Facebook to get help reinstating the page, which for six years has posted content that’s often critical of progressive views and policies such as the minimum wage. The page is seen as generally supportive of Singapore’s government. 

He did not reveal who the Facebook employee was but described him as “the most handsome man in Singapore.”

“So how did I fight back? Well, I had to pull all the strings that I could, push Facebook’s support and get the case higher up, while trying to find friends with contacts in the company, who could get me more information. Ultimately, I was helped by the most handsome man in Singapore who got his name on the line to help me out,” the post read.

Facebook confirmed with Coconuts Singapore after this story was published that it did restore the page but did not comment on any involvement of company staff. 

“We have restored this Page solely in response to steps taken by the admin to rectify violations of our policies,” it said in a statement, later adding that it was done for “no other reasons.”

Petraeus earlier had said that Facebook told him the page would be reinstated and that he was removing the additional account.

“In the end Facebook responded that I violated their rules on using multiple profiles and they would revisit the case if I acknowledge the transgression and remove the offending account – which I did (it is pending deletion now),” the post added.

The page was created in 2014 and has since garnered more than 20,000 followers.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated with Facebook’s response and more background details.


Other stories to check out: 

Opposition leader says he’ll give S$96K of salary to low-income residents, party needs
Singapore’s first official opposition leader to get double allowance, privileges


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