Agents provocateurs launch online jihad against ‘liberal’ Malays, non-Muslims
‘Highly educated’ Facebook group going by N3 using fake accounts and vitriol to incite harassment
nutes ago · Published on 30 Mar 2021 9:00AM
The Facebook profile Nora Ree claims to be a former non-Muslim, saying that N3 promises to be a ‘nightmare’ for ‘liberal’ Muslims and non-Muslims who make ‘uncordial or undiplomatic’ posts. – Facebook pic, March 30, 2021
KUALA LUMPUR – A new group of self-proclaimed “highly educated” and religiously conservative Facebook users with fake accounts have launched a crusade against moderate and liberal netizens, using offensive arguments to debate and counter their beliefs.
Calling itself No Nonsense Netizens (N3), members of the informal Islamic group have been wading into comment sections of popular news pages to attack ‘liberal’ Malays and non-Muslim users with provocative remarks.
But unlike regular trolls and cybertroopers, N3 has devised more sophisticated ways of flaming their online opponents, as some of them are self-professed scholars in various fields, including religion.
The establishment of N3 was marked in a posting on January 9, in which the account of Nora Ree declared N3 as a non-partisan “Muslim sisterhood, shield maidens and enforcers of karma”.
Nora also described N3 as an all-female group of “knowledgeable”, “bold” and “vociferous” members who were mostly foreign graduates, adding that “we are not paid cybertroopers nor keyboard warriors”.
Nora – who claims to be a former non-Muslim – said the N3 promised to be a “nightmare” for non-Muslims and ‘liberal’ Muslims who are “uncordial or undiplomatic” in their comments.
The existence of this group was highlighted to The Vibes by several individuals who were met recently and who identified themselves as the Lingan and Nathan Associates.
The Associates told The Vibes that N3 has been “terrorising” other users with “impunity” on threads that touch on racial and religious sensitivities in the name of defending Malays and Islam.
The Associates also believed that there were higher forces at play, suggesting that members of N3 had connections with Facebook moderators in the country. They also did not discount the possibility that the N3 members were indeed professional cybertroopers serving a political purpose.
In early February, the Associates also sent a complaint letter to Facebook Malaysia, over what they believed were “scandalous” and “abusive” conduct of people under the employment of Facebook, or contractors who moderate the platform.
In the letter sighted by The Vibes, the Associates noted that the heated “debates” would often end up with the Facebook accounts of legitimate users being suspended while the N3 member accounts would remain untouched, despite reports of abuse being lodged against the latter.
The letter named the accounts using the monikers Nora Ree, Julian Rizal Nasruddin, and Cyreene Queen (now deactivated), and have identified the fictional leader of the group as Nurhayati Riswan.
The group refers to Nurhayati as their “Sifu” (master), while other accounts named after Ann Nthree and Cyreen Q. Abdulla are the most recent additions to N3.
According to the January 9 post by Nora, Nurhayati is said to be an academician who was an undergraduate of Psychology who also holds a Master’s degree in Philosophy and another in Comparative Religion, as well as a PhD in Theological Studies.
“These accounts have brazenly claimed they have the access to FB admins to suspend/deactivate any users’ accounts as they wish,” the Associates said in the complaint.
“They post threats and instigative comments to entice other users to engage them in online fights.”
The Associates also alleged that Facebook users who retaliated to N3 had their posts removed or had their accounts either restricted or suspended, as confirmed by some of those users.
N3 members also apparently had information such as the frequency of actions against a user – which, the Associates point out, is information that is only accessible by those having administrative access in Facebook.
Other than Facebook, the complaint was forwarded to the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission, the Personal Data Protection Department, and the Communications and Multimedia Ministry.
However, it is understood that the claims have been investigated by Facebook, which found no evidence of employees or contractors affiliated with N3 or who have acted on behalf of the informal group.