Cambodian opposition leader asks Facebook to verify PM's fans
IANS | Phnom Penh Aug 11, 2016
Cambodian opposition leader Sam Rainsy has asked Facebook to investigate the origin of the "likes" of the official page of Prime Minister Hun Sen, whom he accuses of paying companies to generate fake followers, authorities said on Thursday.
In a message directed at Facebook's Government and Politics Outreach Manager Crystal Patterson, Sam Rainsy argued that Hun Sen is using his popularity on the social media to justify his repressive policies, Efe news reported.
"This matter of fake likes bought by Hun Sen can have far-reaching consequences and be very harmful to the general public and to me, in particular, if we don't shed light on it," Rainsy wrote in his email.
According to the Social Bakers website, till August Hun Sen got close to five million likes from Cambodia, while the rest of his followers were from India (11.5 per cent) and Thailand (7 per cent).
"How could Hun Sen get around 547,000 likes from India when his Facebook page is exclusively written in Khmer, a language completely unknown in India," Rainsy writes.
Hun Sen has denied buying fake likes for his Facebook page on several occasions ever since local daily Phnom Penh Post carried a report in March alleging that he had done so.
"He (Sam Rainsy) is mad and out of control, he is behaving childishly. The Prime Minister issued a statement saying he does not want to use Facebook to attack political rivals but as means for dialogue, to serve people better," Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan told EFE news on Thursday.
"Sam Rainsy is jealous of the Prime Minister's popularity, he can make whatever accusations he wants, it is not in our power to control Facebook, it is a private company," he added.
Rainsy has been in self-exile in France since last November, after a court issued an arrest warrant to carry out the opposition leader's 2011 conviction in absentia.