A common refrain from anti-anonymity #Facebook apologists is that its #RealNamesPolicy promoted "civility" by making users "accountable" for their words. In this conception, snuffing out anonymous speech is key to protecting "the vulnerable" from trolls and other bad actors. 1/ Cambodian dictator Hun Sen's Facebook photo of himself swimm
If you'd like an essay-formatted version of this thread to read or share, here's a link to it on pluralistic.net, my surveillance-free, ad-free, tracker-free blog:

pluralistic.net/2023/01/24/nat… 2/
But while some trolls hide behind anonymity, others are only too happy to sign their vitriol. #DonaldTrump didn't need an anonymous account. #TuckerCarlson is right there in the chyron. 3/
#NickFuentes isn't hiding behind a pseudonym - he's proud to be associated with #HolocaustDenial.

Despite the #MoralPanic about #CancelCulture, the powerful can say outrageous and disgusting things without any meaningful consequence. 4/
But when it comes to #SpeakingTruthToPower, anonymity *protects* the vulnerable from retaliation. 5/
Nowhere will you find a better case-study of this phenomenon than in #Cambodia, a basket-case, one-party dictatorship that has been ruled over by the corrupt, authoritarian dictator #HunSen, a former general, since 1985. 6/
Hun Sen's corruption and authoritarianism chafed at the Cambodian people, but his repressive statecraft allowed him to keep a tight grip on the reins of power. 7/
But all that nearly came to a halt in 2013, when an opposition movement, organized on Facebook, came within a whisker of defeating him during what should have been a sham election. 8/
Other dictators would have used that moment to block Facebook, but not Hun Sen. After squeaking out a narrow victory, he decided to take control of Facebook in Cambodia and co-opt it as a tool of oppression. To do this, Hun Sen would weaponize the Real Names policy. 9/
Because he was dictator, Hun Sen already knew the real names of every person in Cambodia, which meant that he could tell when a Cambodian poster used a pseudonym. 10/
Armed with this knowledge, Hun Sen forced Facebook to order Cambodians to post under their real names (which made them liable to arrest and torture) or fall silent.

buzzfeednews.com/article/meghar… 11/
Hun Sen then spent public funds to hire a bleating army of #astroturf supporters from Filipino #clickfarms who would "like" his posts and shout down Cambodians - especially exiled Cambodians speaking from abroad - who dared to criticize him:

qz.com/1203637/facebo… 12/
This created cover for the #KhmerRiche: connected insiders and Hun Sen's relatives, who looted the country, hired #PWC to help them offshore their money, and procured #GoldenPassports from #Cyprus to let them trip through the EU on luxury sprees:

reuters.com/investigates/s… 13/
Earlier this month, Hun Sen took an "official visit" to the #Maldives, which was commemorated by an official Facebook post that included a gallery of Hun Sen relaxing in a seaside luxury resort:

facebook.com/hunsencambodia… 14/
As @MechDara1 wrote for *Vod*, the post racked up thousands of "fawning comments," and a single, brave remark from "Ver To" (a pseudonym): "Yes, our beaches are the most beautiful, but our leaders are the dirtiest in the world, aren’t they?"

vodenglish.news/hun-sen-orders… 15/
Within hours, Hun Sen had vowed to use Facebook to hunt down and punish the person behind "Ver To," writing "This is a wicked man’s words. Please, police, find it immediately. Where is it?" 16/
In an expanded version of Daral's article on @GlobalVoices, we see Hun Sen's Interior Ministry swing into action to punish this mild act of dissent, with ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak saying: 17/
> This is not freedom of expression — this is insulting the leader of the country. … Even for me, we cannot accept this.

> People who live abroad can say anything, but in Cambodia they cannot.

> Even though the prison is crowded, there is enough space to hold these people. 18/
Hun Sen knows that Facebook will help him hunt down this dissenter and jail them in one of his "crowded prisoners," because Facebook's Real Names policy dictates that this will happen. 19/
The Real Names policy might as well be called "The #Zuckerberg Doctrine." It originates with Mark Zuckerberg's oft-stated belief that people who present a different facet of their personality to different people are "two-faced." 20/
This is an abysmal, idiotic belief, one that requires that we related to our bosses the same way we relate to our lovers, and also to our grandparents. 21/
But on the plus side, outlawing anonymity and pseudonymity makes it a lot easier to assemble nonconsensual surveillance dossiers on our activities, social graph and beliefs, and then sell access to those dossiers to advertisers:

memex.craphound.com/2018/01/22/soc… 22/
Lots of companies have tried for their own Real Names policy. Famously, it was a feature of Google Plus, Alphabet's failed Facebook competitor. 23/
More recently, Twitter's new owner has made moves to link Twitter accounts to identities by hiding posts that aren't from "Twitter Blue" accounts, and then insisting that these accounts must be verified with a phone number. 24/
The powerful can abuse the powerless and get away with it, in large part because the powerless can't speak back without risking retaliation. Sexual abuse was a feature of many industries and large companies for decades, but it too anonymity to create the #MeToo movement. 25/
There, anonymity is a force for accountability - not a way to avoid it. 26/
Hun Sen/Facebook (modified)

Fair use:
eff.org/issues/intelle… 27/

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More from @doctorow

Jan 25
Today's Twitter threads (a Twitter thread).

Inside: The public paid for "Moderna's" vaccine, and now we're going to pay again (and again and again); How Facebook's Real Names policy helps Cambodia's thin-skinned dictator terrorize dissenters; and more! 1/  Image:  Hun Sen/Facebook (modified) https://www.facebook.co
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arstechnica.com/science/2023/0… 1/ Moderna headquarters in Cambridge, Mass. On the left side of
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pluralistic.net/2023/01/24/nat… 2/
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