A government spokesman said yesterday that a court case filed by opposition leader Sam Rainsy in the United States to force Facebook to reveal the origins of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s Facebook “likes” will have no impact on the premier or the ruling CPP.
Bloomberg reported on Tuesday that a judge will probably order Facebook to furnish some, but not all records sought by Mr Rainsy, who has accused Mr Hun Sen of misusing the network to spread propaganda.
“I’m likely going to give Mr Sam [Rainsy] the ability to get some information from Facebook,” Bloomberg quoted US Magistrate Judge Sallie Kim as saying during a hearing in San Francisco.
Phay Siphan, spokesman for the Council of Ministers, dismissed the US court’s decision, saying that Mr Rainsy was grasping for straws.
“That issue has no bearing on Prime Minister Hun Sen because it’s in a different jurisdiction,” Mr Siphan said, noting that Facebook was obliged to protect user privacy.
“Sam Rainsy has just created this story to attack Mr Hun Sen and we think that it will have no influence on him,” he said.
Mr Rainsy lodged a lawsuit in the US in February to get Facebook to release information on Mr Hun Sen’s use of the social media platform. Mr Rainsy wants information on allegations of “false likes” on Mr Hun Sen’s Facebook account.
Facebook said it didn’t want to be drawn into a political dispute between the ruling CPP and former opposition CNRP.
The company said Mr Rainsy was on “a fishing expedition” and that complying with his demand would force it to reveal the Prime Minister’s private communications and account activity in violation of US privacy laws, Bloomberg reported.
A lawyer for the company told the judge that Mr Rainsy’s efforts to pry into “likes” posted on Mr Hun Sen’s Facebook page poses a “significant problem” given the company’s obligations to honour user privacy.
Mr Rainsy contends millions of the “likes” were manufactured by “click farms,” Bloomberg said.
As of yesterday, Mr Hun Sen’s Facebook page had nearly ten million “likes”, while Mr Rainsy’s page had more than four million.
An analysis by social media firm Socialbakers showed in 2016 that only 57 percent of Mr Hun Sen’s Facebook “likes” came from inside Cambodia, with the rest coming from other countries, including India, Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam and Brazil.