Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) is fond of criticizing the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) for attacking him with “cyberwarriors.”
He has said: “If the DPP continues to govern by cyberarmy, it will meet its nemesis sooner or later.”
That was an impressive prediction.
Before the DPP meets its nemesis, Ko’s own cyberwarriors hidden at the Taipei City Government have been exposed, one after another, despite his curse on the party. If people were asking whether he was operating a cyberarmy of his own before, they now have their answer.
For example, consider Lin Yu-sheng (林育生), who heads the information section at the Department of Transportation’s Technology Division.
Lin often criticized Ko’s least-liked Taipei City councilors on the Professional Technology Temple (PTT) bulletin board system. This included Miao Po-ya (苗博雅) of the Social Democratic Party.
During office hours, Lin made 345 posts and more than 50,000 comments on PTT, or one comment every 40 minutes in the first half of this year. That is what I call a cyberwarrior.
Then there was the discovery of an employee apparently working as a cyberwarrior from within the city government’s Taipei Expo Foundation. This person, whose nickname on PTT is “LovError,” was exposed having at least three other PTT accounts. “LovError” claimed to have a girlfriend in some posts, and a wife and children in others. It was this confusing public persona that led to the outing of this worker, who might have other, yet undiscovered accounts.
Cyberwarriors or cyberarmies often do their deeds at computers in small, crowded offices. Through multiple accounts, five to six people can manufacture supposed opinions of 30 to 40 fictitious members of the public.
An investigation by the city government showed that eight employees using 12 accounts had made online posts in an attempt to manipulate public opinion while at work.
Ko said that the employees were acting independently, so they were not cyberwarriors acting under his direction. Despite the employees being shown acting as a cyberarmy from within the city government, Ko still warned the DPP of meeting its nemesis.
Such typical logic of the mayor is beyond comprehension.
Ko on Monday criticized Miao for summoning Lin and the foundation employee to read their posts aloud at a Taipei City Council session to put the incident on public record.
Ko said that Miao was using civil servants as “political tools,” adding that it was his duty as mayor to defend his staff.
However, Lin should have bravely told the council who was orchestrating and directing this activity.
As for the foundation employee, who repeatedly choked while being questioned, he should have told the council why he kept changing his online persona to attack the DPP.
Taiwan ranks first in the world for the amount of disinformation coming from within the country. Some people seem to be using their freedom to attack freedom. They take advantage of freedom of speech in a democratic country to attack that freedom, allowing biased or false information to circulate online, while forming an information circuit to influence people’s perceptions.
Faced with disinformation attacks, Taiwan is in a state of “quasi-war.”
As Ko attempts to distort right and wrong, he has now become a source of disinformation.
Lin Han is a junior-high school teacher.
Translated by Eddy Chang
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