A new leak from an anonymous hacker purports to show Facebook analytics for Prime Minister Hun Sen’s page demonstrating that a large proportion of his followers are from outside Cambodia, with the leak quickly rejected by the premier’s social media team as a fake.
The prime minister’s Facebook page is nearing 10 million followers and has become a key tool in his outreach to the Cambodian people, with regular posts about his official work and travels overseas, as well as more personal posts about him and his family.
A previous Post analysis showed that as of last year less than 50 percent of the premier’s “likes” came from within the country, an amount higher than in 2016 when the premier only had 20 percent of his likes from inside the Kingdom.
The new leak came in the form of a YouTube video that purports to show a hack of the Facebook account of So Visot, who seems to be a member of the prime minister’s social media team. The hacker then accesses the premier’s Facebook page, which shows Visot to be an analyst, a low-level administrator with the ability to view page analytics.
The analytics appear to show that of the premier’s 9.8 million likes, only 3.4 million – about 35 percent – come from within Cambodia. Around 2.6 million are from the Philippines, followed by India, where Hun Sen has around 900,000 likes.
The hacker also distributed photos of alleged click farms – businesses that help boost social media presence for a fee – as well as a screenshot of an alleged email from Duong Dara, a member of Hun Sen’s social media team, quoting the cost of buying Facebook likes to the premier.
The social media behemoth also allows for paid promotion of posts, which often appear as a sponsored post on a user’s Facebook feed, in order to increase a page’s reach and likes.
“[Of the] 9.8 million likes, Samdech [Hun Sen] received likes just 3.4 million in Cambodia and besides those, it is from The Philippines, India and other countries. They are all fake likes purchased from ‘Click Farm,’” a message accompanying the leak reads.
Duong Dara said the leak was false and completely manipulated with the intention of damaging the premier’s image. “It is the fake information that they want to pass to make people look bad. They can create this [fake leak] in a minute,” he said.
With regards to the email screenshot, Dara said it was not from his account and was also a manipulation to make it seem like the premier was buying likes. “They are accusing the prime minister of using click farms – that is wrong. That is not genuine information; it has been manipulated,” he said.
Visot could not be reached for comment and Chea Pov, head of the government’s anti-cybercrime department, declined to comment.