Sun, Sep 08, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Ko’s remarks since Aug. 1 bring him 130,000 ‘unlikes’

By Sean Lin and Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporters

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je, in white shirt next to marker, and other hikers stand next to the stone marker at the top of the main peak of Qixingshan in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Chang Chia-ming, Taipei Times

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je’s (柯文哲) recent slew of remarks have caused him to lose fans fast. More than 130,000 people have “unliked” his Facebook page since Aug. 1.

The number of people who “like” Ko’s Facebook page dipped below 2 million yesterday.

According to “SOVPtw,” a Facebook page that uses big data to track politicians’ visibility on the Internet, an “unliking spree” occurred on Ko’s page on Friday — the day that he described Presidential Office Secretary-General Chen Chu (陳菊) as a “fatter version of [Kaohsiung mayor] Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜)” — and continued well into yesterday.

On Wednesday, after Ko claimed he heard that top Taiwanese model Lin Chi-ling (林志玲) was pregnant, 1,748 people unliked Ko’s page between 7:45am on Wednesday and 7:45am on Friday.

From 7:45am on Friday to 7:39am yesterday, Ko was losing fans at a much faster rate — 8,000 “unliked” his page during that time, SOVPtw found.

Before Thursday, the number of “likes” for Ko’s page had stagnated for two weeks at about 2.01 million, SOVPtw said.

As of press time last night, the number of Ko’s Facebook fans had dropped to about 1.98 million, marking a deficit of more than 130,000 fans since Aug. 1, according to SOVPtw.

Asked about his shrinking online support base, Ko appeared unfazed.

“If I were scared, I would have announced the return of Double Ninth Festival gift money” for senior residents, which he cancelled during his first term in office.

The decrease in the number of Facebook fans was actually the result of an “electoral strategy,” he said.

The entire nation goes into a frenzy every time elections come around, which has had an adverse effect on the nation’s development, Ko said.

“I will put an end to that culture. I may not succeed at first, but I will stand my ground,” he said.

After refusing to apologize for his remarks about Chu, saying that “fat” is only an adjective to describe a condition, Ko was grilled again yesterday by reporters, who asked whether it was an indiscreet remark and whether he sticks by his explanation.

“Instead of being an ‘indiscreet remark,’ the accurate explanation would be: ‘I let my emotions override my rationality,’” he said, adding that he “has ill feelings toward” Chen because the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) governed Kaohsiung for 20 years, but then lost badly in the mayoral election last year.

DPP Legislator Tuan Yi-kang (段宜康) and DPP Taipei City Councilor Wang Shih-chien (王世堅) should take most of the blame for creating the so-called “Han wave,” Ko said, adding that Tuan had intended to replace Han, who was general manager of Taipei Agricultural Products Marketing Co (TAPM) until early 2017, with his former office director.

Tuan did not even allow Han to become the Taipei City Government consultant after he left the TAPM, but asked prosecutors to audit marketing company’s accounts.

A YouTube video showing Wang and Han, then-TAPM general manager, engaged in a heated verbal exchange at the Taipei City Council in 2016 has garnered more than 1.4 million views, Ko added, implying that Wang has increased Han’s visibility.

Additional reporting by Chen Ching-min

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