Imitators are adopting Chinese tactics to quash online critics

Allies like Cambodia and Bangladesh are deploying fake voices to drown out dissent.

Sam Rainsy is interim leader and co-founder of the Cambodia National Rescue Party and previously served as finance minister.

Facebook’s network management tools are proving inadequate to deal with the Chinese-inspired army of bots deployed by Cambodia’s dictatorship to shout down dissenting voices. This failure could have global implications for democracy.

The Cambodian government already exercises control over the overwhelming majority of Khmer- and English-language media in the country. This, though, is not sufficient for a regime unwilling to brook any kind of dissent.

In my own experience, I have discovered fake accounts created for the purpose of triggering Facebook algorithms to restrict access to or remove content I had posted. The false triggers have been repeatedly flagged to Facebook, which has fixed some of them, but the bot attacks continue.

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