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Cambodian Facebook Feud Spills Into California Court

By William Vogeler, Esq. on February 12, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019
When it comes to Facebook posts, Cambodia's dictator makes North Korea's dictator look almost reasonable.

Kim Jong Un has lobbed missiles and threats at places like Japan, Guam, and the United States. But Hun Sen, Cambodia's prime minister, said he'll attack his own people with rocket launchers.

Sam Rainsy, a political rival in Cambodia, wants to remove the Facebook factor. He came to the United States to sue for it.

Fake "Likes"

It gets uglier, if that is possible. Rainsy says Sen is also creating fake Facebook accounts to make himself look good.

Based on Facebook "likes" and public relations, Sen is the third most popular world leader on the platform. He has 9.4 million likes on his Facebook page; that's more than half the population in Cambodia.

The opposition leader filed a "dislike" petition in a California federal court, and alleges Sen purchases fake likes from "click farms" in the Phillippines and India. Rainsy's lawyer says Facebook should unmask the dictator.

"Facebook should act to prevent its platform being manipulated to help prop up dictators," attorney Richard Rogers told the BBC.

Fake Followers

It is no secret that people -- and businesses -- pay to boost their images through social media.

The New York Times, for example, cracked the code on a business that has sold customers "more than 200 million Twitter followers," at least 55,000 of which "use the names, profile pictures, hometowns and other personal details of real Twitter users."

Documents used in the story revealed that scores of celebrities, actors, athletes, and opinion leaders pay for followers. Sen wasn't on the list, but he has thumbed his nose at the allegations that he paid for Facebook likes.

"If I could buy India, I must be really strong," he said.

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