Najib and Umno in BIG TROUBLE
From doctored photos aimed to show greater public support than he may really command to using clones or ‘bots’ to cheat on a Twitter record, it looks like Prime Minister Najib Razak may really be on his last legs and clinging to straws as the next general election nears and knives are out to get him from within his own Umno party.
Despite grandiose claims from Information Minister Rais Yatim that 3.6 million tweets were recorded in just one hour on August 31 – as Malaysians sent in congratulatory National Day messages to Najib’s #Merdeka55 hashtag – there has been deafening silence from Twitter.
If true the ‘world record’ had been falsified, it will be another huge blow to Malaysia’s already stretched credibility due to a series of policy and reform flip-flops plus Najib’s own media peccadilloes with several disgraced international ‘image’ agencies.
Doubtful ‘world record’ but few are surprised at the ‘bold bluff’
To Najib’s critics, Twitter’s snub no longer surprises given the “clear pattern of lies used by the BN to create a false impression of political strength, while discriminating against the Opposition and using intimidating tactics to scare the ordinary folk back into supporting the BN.”
“The hypocrisy and double standards are getting out of hand. When Umno supporters throw shoes at Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim inside a mosque, no action is taken to arrest or punish the culprits. Yet the police can falsely use the Sedition Act to arrest teens and youths for stomping on the picture of the PM,” PAS vice president Mahfuz Omar told Malaysia Chronicle.
According to social media research house Politweet, it began tracking mentions of #Merdeka55 on Twitter from August 28, the moment Rais had announced Putrajaya’s aim to hit a one million-tweet mark for tweets sent within an hour from 8.15pm to 9.15pm on August 31.
“To date, Twitter has made no announcement on their blog about #Merdeka55. There is also no mention of the #Merdeka55 record online by other tracking websites,” Politweet pointed out in a report.
“Without a third party to verify the data, the 3.6 million tweets figure is doubtful.”
Indeed, the BN’s record-beating claim had been immediately questioned by Malaysian Twitter users, many of whom have accused the organisers of rigging the contest by using “bots” to generate false publicity.
“Bots doing retweeting 4 thousand times, then u proud of hvg mils of tweets?” Malaysian Insider reported Twitter user @Amir_Shari as having written earlier this week. ‘Bots’ are computer programs designed to send out automated responses on the service.
Another Twitter user Cyril Dason had tweeted @cyrildason that “#merdeka55 stats online: 1,500 tweets generated 493,610 impressions, reaching an audience of 185,482 followers within the past 24 hours”, in an apparent rebuttal of the world record claim.
The observations by the doubting Malaysian Twitter users were borne out by Politweet. During the targeted hour, Politweet said it had picked up an “odd pattern” during the live stream, where “large blocks of identical tweets were being sent at the same time”.
According to the social media research house, the tweets using the #Merdeka55 hashtag were “almost entirely” confined to Malaysia, with only five tweets streaming in from outside the nation — Myanmar, Switzerland, Britain, Indonesia and Singapore.
“Further investigation revealed that a small group of users were responsible for a large volume of tweets. These users had similar characteristics, e.g. account creation date, profile photos, location and follower/following relationships. All of their duplicate tweets were sent using Tweetdeck,” Politweet wrote, calling these duplicate tweets as “clones”.
Earlier this week, Najib was ridiculed when the government-controlled media front-paged photos that appeared to have been “photo-shopped” or doctored to give the impression of a huge and adoring crowd pressing forward towards him during his Hari Raya open house last month.
National news agency Bernama has denied the accusations but few Malaysians are convinced given the large number of inexplicable peculiarities in the photos.
“Najib has been accused of using Bernama to doctor the Raya picture of 100,000 people going to his open house. Of course, this will make the Umno warlords even more hopping mad,” PKR vice president Chua Jui Meng had said.
Not only has the Opposition been gaining ground and are now favoured to win the 13th general election, which Najib has hinted will be in November, but within Umno there is a growing movement to oust and replace him with his own deputy Muhyiddin Yassin.
Muhyiddin is believed to have the backing of former premier Mahathir Mohamad. -hornbillunleashed
By Maria Begum