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Cambodia’s chief returns to Fb weeks after an acrimonious breakup with the platform

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PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen’s Facebook account was reactivated Thursday, three weeks after he introduced he was forsaking the social media large in favor of posting on Telegram, a well-liked messaging app that additionally serves as a running a blog software.

Hun Sen’s return to the Fb fold got here three days earlier than a normal election during which his ruling Cambodian Individuals’s Occasion is nearly assured a landslide victory.

Hun Sen stated on the finish of June that he would cease posting new materials on his Fb web page however depart the account on-line. He stated he was switching to Telegram as a result of he believed the app supplied a simpler strategy to talk.

However when a Fb watchdog criticized the language in one in every of his movies and advisable suspending the prime minister’s account for six months, Hun Sen took down the web page.

Duong Dara, who manages the 70-year-old chief’s social media accounts, posted a message Thursday saying he had requested Hun Sen to be allowed to reactivate his Fb web page within the nationwide curiosity. He stated he, and never the prime minister, can be importing content material.

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“I created this web page ‘Samdech Hun Sen, Cambodian Prime Minister,’ for him to make use of for speaking with the Cambodian folks, each inside and outdoors the nation, particularly to get to listen to instantly from them about their scenario by way of requests and feedback on his web page,” Duong Dara wrote. “As a result of I noticed the significance of this social media community, I made a decision to create this web page for him to make use of for the advantage of the nation. I don’t need to lose the principle web page that we’ve got been utilizing for the final 13 years.”

Hun Sen, who has led Cambodia for 38 years, had used Fb since 2015 to show household snapshots, situation dire warnings to his political enemies, and broadcast stay his frequent and sometimes prolonged speeches.

His web page boasts 14 million followers, although critics have advised a big quantity are “ghost” accounts bought in bulk from so-called “click on farms,” an assertion Hun Sen has repeatedly denied.

As of Thursday, Hun Sen’s Telegram account had virtually 987,000 subscribers, up from the 855,000 he had when he introduced his June breakup with Fb.

Hun Sen introduced his intention to stop posting on Fb a day earlier than a quasi-independent assessment board established by the platform’s mother or father firm, Meta, advisable the 6-month suspension of each the prime minister’s Fb and Instagram accounts.

The oversight board concluded he had used language that might incite violence in a video of a January speech during which he decried opposition politicians who accused his social gathering of stealing votes.

The board stated it reached its non-binding advice due partially to “Hun Sen’s historical past of committing human rights violations and intimidating political opponents, in addition to his strategic use of social media to amplify such threats.”

Individually, it overturned a ruling by Fb’s moderators to permit the video, initially broadcast stay, to remain on-line. Inside hours of the board making its report public, Hun Sen’s Fb web page was eliminated.

He stated the subsequent day that he had closed his account and was contemplating banning Fb in Cambodia, largely as a result of he was fed up with on-line abuse from political enemies overseas. Nonetheless, he didn’t carry via on the risk.

He additionally ordered the members of the oversight board to be barred from getting into Cambodia.

The Cambodian Ministry Of Submit and Telecommunications stated at that very same time that it meant to have Fb’s representatives expelled from the nation. The ministry cited issues with Fb, such because the creation of pretend accounts, the gathering of personal information, a scarcity of accountability and transparency, and alleged interference into Cambodia’s political affairs.

Its motion fell flat as a result of Fb apparently doesn’t have a employees in Cambodia.


Peck reported from Bangkok.

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