Published daily by the Lowy Institute

Digital Asia Links: Hun Sen’s Facebook friends, Indonesia’s fake news factory, Jack Ma and more

This week's links also include Myanmar tensions online, Cyber Week in Singapore, trolls in Korea, and WeChat's big admission.

About 40,000 Alibaba employees attended the firm’s annual party in Hangzhou, China, earlier this month. (Photo: VCG/VCG via Getty Images).
About 40,000 Alibaba employees attended the firm’s annual party in Hangzhou, China, earlier this month. (Photo: VCG/VCG via Getty Images).
Published 22 Sep 2017   Follow @DrSarahLogan

  • The tensions in Myanmar’s northwest are mirrored online, with both sides pumping out propaganda including memes, rumour and fake imagery - as well as calls for help. The issue is not new: a 2016 study found that over half of the 565 cases of hate speech examined in just three months were targeted at Rohingya, and Facebook has grappled with moderating hate speech in Myanmar for some time.
  • Japan became the world’s largest bitcoin exchange market this month, taking top spot after China banned various bitcoin-related activities. Some reports suggest the ban may soon extend to all cryptocurrency activity.
  • Singapore recently celebrated Cyber Week, releasing its inaugural cyber landscape report which details key cyber threats and incidents from 2016-2017. The government also awarded a multimillion dollar contract — almost double the size of the previous contract - to protect government websites from cyber-attack. 
  • Fake news: building on concerns expressed by Indonesian authorities earlier this year, an online ‘fake news factory’ has been uncovered by police. And fake news has been blamed for inciting a riot which injured five policemen this week.
  • Korea has its own online hub for young right-wing trolls, Ilbe, which is reportedly the country’s 24th most popular website. Although similar to sites in the West in its aptitude for vitriolic trolling, Ilbe is a very Korean enterprise, emerging from the country’s history of protest and recent political scandals.   
  • A controversial Korean child monitoring app has been re-released. The app is part of government efforts to curb young people’s internet use, and was previously withdrawn from sale in 2015 after it was found to have multiple security flaws.
  • Despite its serious attempts to crack down on online dissent, Cambodia’s ruling party is using Facebook to build support. Prime Minister Hun Sen now has eight million likes on his personal home page and uses it to post selfies and host live streams, while the government-aligned Fresh News and other pages use the platform to spread anti-opposition stories. 
  • WeChat’s latest patch confirms it gives all private user data to the Chinese government, which this week introduced further regulations targeting chat app users.
  • There was much fuss this week over China’s Communist Youth League and its apparent Twitter account – the first for a state entity of this sort. But either the account has already been hacked, or it is all part of an elaborate hoax featuring competing fake accounts.
  • Alibaba’s Jack Ma shows us how Dangerous he really is with a stunning Michael-Jackson themed lipsynch extravaganza at his firm’s annual conference.








You may also be interested in