SINGAPORE: Wake Up Singapore (WUSG), an alternative news platform, shed light on Wednesday (9 Aug) in a report on the alleged artificial surge in Instagram followers of presidential aspirant and former GIC Chief Investment Officer, Ng Kok Song.
In just one day, the follower count of the 75-year-old dramatically rose from 784 to a staggering 3,930. However, not long after, the number plummeted to 994 when his account was temporarily set to private.
Comments highlighting this sudden increase were reportedly swiftly removed by the account’s moderators. Yet, a comment from TikTok user Jaime.tan, which pointed out the surge, managed to escape this mass deletion.
Ng’s media team, comprising members from Gushcloud International, addressed the situation to WUSG. They stated their belief that a third-party service was behind the artificial inflation of Ng’s Instagram following.
They vehemently denied any involvement, emphasizing that neither Ng nor his team had sanctioned the addition of fake followers.
Upon inspection, a considerable number of the new followers were found to be fake. Ng’s team spent hours manually checking, and during this period, the account remained private to prevent further inauthentic additions.
When questioned about the incident’s potential connection to the Foreign Interference (Countermeasures) Act, especially considering the pivotal role of social media in molding public opinion, Ng’s media team clarified they had no intentions of reporting the incident to either law enforcement or the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore.
They refrained from speculating about the motivations or origins of the suspicious spike, attributing it to a one-time anomaly.
Ng Kok Song’s declaration of entering the Presidential race has undeniably ruffled feathers, more so after former Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam and entrepreneur George Goh announced their own election intentions.
While Ng is a seasoned figure at GIC, he remains relatively unknown to the broader public. His unexpected plunge into politics has stirred considerable speculation.
When probed about his political associations, Ng consistently emphasized his neutrality, accentuating Singapore’s need for an independent president. However, his close ties with PAP politicians during his GIC tenure adds layers of complexity to his narrative.
Regardless, Ng’s team’s decision to bypass the Instagram issue is dubious, and the possibility of a third-party manipulating the followers of a Singaporean Presidential candidate raises valid apprehensions. It leads to the overarching question of whether the Ministry of Home Affairs should intervene.
After all, the ruling party has consistently expressed concerns about foreign interference in Singapore’s political trajectory. With the upcoming Presidential election’s gravity, it’s imperative that such matters aren’t left unchecked.
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