Politicians like to be liked, more importantly they like people to think that they are liked. The lovable Hun Sen is no exception. After the murder of his leading critic there has been a huge spike in the number of likes on his facebook page. And, would you believe it, most of the new likes come from Indonesia, India and the Philippines.
The huge crowds at the funeral of murdered Kem Ley (Hun Sen's leading critic) is nothing compared to the 400,000 fans from India that Hun Sen has on facebook.
Some cynics (Private Tye is, of course, not among them) have suggested that Hun Sen has been hiring “click farms” after watching an episode of Silicon Valley.
The full story from The Cambodia Daily:
Prime Minister Hun Sen’s Facebook page has experienced a surge in Facebook “likes” from India, the Philippines and Indonesia that began two days after the murder of political analyst Kem Ley, according to data from social media analytics website Socialbakers.
The data shows that likes from the three countries—all known for hosting so-called “click farms” that allow Facebook users to purchase followers—experienced 9 to 31 percent growth between July 13 and the end of the month, compared to just 3 percent growth in Cambodia during the same period.
It is not the first time the prime minister’s page, whose popularity has become a point of pride for him, has seen exponential growth in followers from abroad.
In March, the prime minister vehemently denied claims that he purchased likes after data from Socialbakers showed that the number of his followers in India jumped from about 6,000 in February to more than 400,000 by the end of March. The premier also enjoyed a sharp increase in likes from Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia and Bangladesh during the first few months of the year.
That rise appeared to plateau in early May, with Indian likes actually falling slightly from 517,282 on May 8 to 512,021 on July 12.
Beginning on July 13, the page once again began accruing thousands of Indian followers every day, soaring to 557,000 as of Sunday—an increase of 9 percent during the three weeks. Likewise, tens of thousands of likes came from the Philippines and Indonesia over the same period, at growth rates of 31 and 23 percent, respectively.
Some 45 percent of Mr. Hun Sen’s roughly 4.9 million followers now reside outside of Cambodia, with India accounting for more than 11 percent of the total as of Monday afternoon.
The boost comes at a sensitive time for the prime minister, who is battling public suspicions over the July 10 murder of Kem Ley, as well as international pressure over Cambodia’s unwillingness to join neighboring states in rebuking China over its sweeping South China Sea claims.
Mr. Hun Sen’s Facebook presence has nonetheless continued to be a bright spot for him.
In a speech on Sunday, the prime minister appeared to taunt opposition leader Sam Rainsy, who held the lead in Facebook followers until early this year and successfully used the platform to rally support during the 2013 election season.
“There are more than 15 million post likes for me. And how much do you actually have?” Mr. Hun Sen said. Mr. Rainsy’s page currently has nearly 2.9 million followers, 82 percent of whom live in Cambodia.
The prime minister again disputed accusations that his likes had been bought.