Dating website CEO 'disappointed' by ban


EXTRAMARITAL dating website AshleyMadison.com said it is disappointed by the decision of the Media Development Authority (MDA) to block the website here.

Chief executive Noel Biderman, responding to queries, yesterday said: “Contrary to what has been stated by the MDA, Ashley­Madison.com does not aggressively promote extra-marital affairs ... We provide a platform and social network for like-minded adults that cannibalises an already existing behaviour pattern.”

He said his company is “clearly addressing a demand” and even cited government statistics to back his claim. “AshleyMadison.com didn’t invent infidelity, and infidelity has long been practised in Singapore,” he added.

The 42-year-old, who is married, also noted how divorce rates here jumped from 1,721 in 1980 to 7,237 last year – “a rise that has no correlation or connection to dating sites”, he said.

“If MDA wants to blame inanimate objects for causing moral corruption, than there is a long list of products that will need to be banned as well, including the iPhone, condoms, hotels and Facebook ... Each one of these items may play a role in an adulterous affair,” he said.

The MDA on Friday said it has worked with Internet service providers to block access to the site, which “stood out (because) it aggressively promotes and facilitates extramarital affairs and has declared that it will specifically target Singaporeans”.

Members pay AshleyMadison.com to contact each other. The website reached Asia this year, first with a Japan site in June, followed by Hong Kong in August.

But many Singaporeans, including Social and Family Develop­ment Minister Chan Chun Sing and other community leaders have rejected the proposed local edition of the website.

Almost 27,000 people have also showed their opposition by supporting a “Block Ashley Madison – Singapore” Facebook page.

Seah Kian Peng, chairman of the Government Parliamentary Com­mittee for Social and Family Development, said he was “happy” to hear of the ban.

“It is true that if people want to cheat, they can seek other avenues. But we should not make it any easier, knowing full well the intentions of the website,” he said. — The Straits Times / Asia News Network

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