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Social Media Here More Social Than Political: Researcher

VOA Khmer on Facebook currently has more than 5000 fans.
VOA Khmer on Facebook currently has more than 5000 fans.

Cambodia’s low number of Internet users make a social-media fueled revolution here unlikely, an Internet researcher says.

Cambodia’s more than 200,000 Facebook users mostly use the website to connect with friends and maintain professional social networks, said Saray Samadee, who recently co-authored a report for the Cambodia Communication review.

“The possibility of creating the same unrest here as in other countries in not very likely,” she said, referring to recent uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt that toppled ruling governments with the help of sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

“Compared with Tunisia, they have nearly 2 million Facebook users, which is almost equal to the population of Phnom Penh,” she said. “But we have just over 200,000 users. So I do not think that can cause powerful unrest.”

Cambodia has seen its Internet users swiftly climb in recent years, though the figure of 244,000 Facebook users the company counts can be misleading, as it includes foreigners in Cambodia and Cambodians abroad.

No matter the number, the majority are online for recreation, Saray Samadee said.

“The main motivations of Facebook users here are just for seeking fun or friendship or maintaining networks,” she said.

Most of her 3,000-some friends don’t seem to pay attention to politics, she added.