PAP grassroots leader Jason Chua Chin Seng confirmed the existence of the obscured government troll group, PAP Internet Brigade (IB) today. The ex-Malaysian owner of Fabrications About PAP (FAP), a cheerleader Facebook group for the ruling party set up to defame government critics, wrote in a post confirming that he is receiving payouts for his IB work.
Little is known about the IB group, which has near-zero mention in the government-owned media. The group is however notorious for making disparaging remarks, hurling vulgarities and making death threats at government critics.
The PAP IB is the equivalent of China’s government-hired troll group, known as the 50-cent army, who are paid 50 yuan (10 cents per comment). According to insider sources familiar with Jason Chua, members of the PAP IB are paid S$1 per comment. Most of the IB members are ex-Malaysians Singaporeans, Singapore permanent residents and “foreigners with vested interests reliant on the ruling party PAP”.
Their mode of operation comprises of a private Whatsapp group and a secret Facebook group, used to “mobilise” members. On “special events” like election period, swarms of anonymous and fake profiles are called in flood Facebook and other online platforms to “sway” public opinion. An IB member can also call in other IB members to a specific discussion thread for “fire support”. In other times, the IBs are deployed to follow closely Facebook profiles of ruling party leaders like Lee Hsien Loong and Chan Chun Sing – clicking likes and slamming any critic.
Another key function of the IB group is to function as “likes” farm. Like some dodgy internet marketing groups promising “likes” and “followers”, the PAP IB ensure that all PAP leaders have substantial “likes”. Dictator Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s Facebook page have more than 1.1 million “likes”, but an estimated 80% of the “likes” are fake profiles generated by the IB.
According to an insider source, the PAP IB is funded by the government’s propaganda ministry, Ministry of Information and Communications, under Minister Yaacob Ibrahim. In 2011, the IB group FAP broke electoral laws by posting on Polling Day. The group was let off by the Singapore Police with only a verbal warning.