Keyboard warriors or cybertroopers have long been in existence and they will usually make their presence known whenever the time for general election rolls around. It has long been speculated that there is a possibility that these people are given some form of payment or compensation and one activist known as “Dragon Queen” has spilled the beans.
According to Sinar Harian, Syarul Ema Rena Abu Samah who used to be an Umno supporter, revealed what she knows about the industry. Although she has since changed sides, it was reported that she confirms some of these bloggers or cybertroopers do indeed get paid to stir issues online.
Usually, they will get paid according to their level of expertise where they usually received one-off payments based on projects.
She explains, “Umno cybertroopers can get paid in the range of few thousands to millions for one project. I’ve heard of one project that paid RM3 million to cybertroopers and the duration was until the general election ended. As for the opposition, the cybertroopers are not paid but done based on the party member’s initiative. I’m not sure about DAP, Amanah and Bersatu.”
However, she said that the pay used to be higher. The minimum rate used to be RM1,500 but it has since dropped to RM500. Not too shabby either! Syarul Ema also explained that during the height of the hashtag craze such as #RespectMyPM and similar others, these tasks were done by “robots” because with a little digging, you can easily determine that the social media accounts are fake.
She admits that when she was on Umno’s side, she was actively bashing the opposition but she used facts to write her posts. “Now, when I’m at the opposition’s side, I also use facts and data to write but the standard among the Umno cybertroopers have dropped. All they know how to say now is to bash, call you names or write nonsense,” she added.
Syarul Ema said that there are also cybertroopers who are two-faced where they would work for both sides just to get more money. However, one of Umno Youth’s exco members Datuk Nazir Hussin Akhtar Hussin refutes these claims.
Sinar Harian reports that he said these so-called cybertroopers were just people who really loves the political party. He said, “If there are really paid cybertroopers working full-time then I think the opposition wouldn’t even be here. We have bloggers and hardcore supporters who offer their services themselves so we never paid for any posts.”
An article published by the Malaysian Insight confirms that cybertroopers do get paid, if not with cash then with other tokens of appreciation. They would allegedly be given allowances for telephone bills, internet charges, laptops and mobile phones by Umno leaders.
Well, who do you think is right? Do you believe these claims that the cybertroopers are being paid?