Fake Online Identity Raises Concern as Facebook Is Taking off

Posted June 3rd, 2011 at 1:34 pm (UTC+7)
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As Facebook is taking off in Cambodia, concerns over online identity also arise when several public profiles of Cambodian prime minister Hun Sen were found online, but denied by the premier cabinet.

Cambodians surf the Internet at a coffee shop in Phnom Penh. Photo: AFP

Cambodians surf the Internet at a coffee shop in Phnom Penh. Photo: AFP

With more than 600 million users world wide, Facebook has a policy that allows its users to report fake profiles. But a quick search on the site shows that there are two profiles and three Pages that represent the Cambodian premier, whose cabinet told that the accounts “were not created by sources close the prime minister”. One of the Pages, usually used by public figures and businesses, has more than 20000 fans. Via micro-blogging site Twitter, Thomas Crampton, a Hong Kong-based social media expert, told me that there are “290k Facebook users in Cambodia, with 90% under the age of 30 and more than 60% male”.

When asked what’s the implication of this online fake identity, Saray Samedy, who researched on Facebook use among Cambodians, told me that “It’s like you’re wearing a mask, no one know who you are in a way you could protect yourself from going public in the online world”. A negative thing about this is that “people make advantages from that by hiding their identity and do something inappropriate,” added Samedy.

Suggested links:
News of Journalism Mentor’s Death Broke on Facebook

Keeping a True Identity Becomes a Battle Online

PM’s daughter doesn’t ‘like’ Facebook profile

Bun Tharum is a freelance journalist, blogger, and digital media specialist. Blogging since 2004, he’s been a contributing-writer for Global Voices Online, Asian Correspondent, and several other print publications. His main interests are information and communication technologies for development and online media. Tharum’s base is Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s largest capital city.

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About

Bun Tharum is a freelance journalist, blogger, and digital media specialist. Blogging since 2005, he’s been a contributing-writer for Global Voices Online, Asian Correspondent, and several other print publications. His main interests are information and communication technologies for development and online media. Tharum’s base is Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s largest capital city.

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