Macau casino operator Galaxy Entertainment Group (GEG) is clandestinely monitoring every post that its employees make on social media in a very Orwellian manner, according to reports.
The South China Morning Post reported that GEG has inked a deal with Hong Kong-based digital marketing firm YouFind to snoop around its employees’ social media accounts and sanitize posts that are deemed detrimental to the casino operator’s image.
GEG reportedly tapped the services of YouFind after it was bombarded with negative feedback in the aftermath of Typhoon Hato last year. Hato was powerful enough to shut down Asia’s premier gaming hub in August 2017, and left at least 16 people dead.
Documents obtained by the Hong Kong-based news outlet from an unnamed source showed that GEG started monitoring online activities two months ago after YouFind signed a “secret contract.”
On its website, YouFind describes itself as an interactive digital marketing agency that provides a complete range of tools and services from blogging, forum promotion, search engine marketing (SEO and SEM), web analytics, and social media marketing. The YouFind website did not indicate if it is an expert on neutralizing negative comments on social media websites.
“It was absolutely a secret contract, normal procedures were not followed,” the source told the news outlet. “If it is all ethical, above board and in complete compliance with all the necessary laws, why all the secrecy?”
Critics couldn’t help but be reminded of George Orwell’s critically-acclaimed novel 1984 when they learned about GEG’s solution to “neutralize” negativity about the company on Facebook and Weibo.
Hong Kong’s privacy commissioner for personal data Stephen Wong Kai-yi contended that GEG and YouFind should comply with the strict privacy laws in the former British colony even if the supposed monitoring took place in Macau.
GEG denied the allegations that it was spying on its employees on social media, saying it “proactively fulfills its social responsibilities and strives to ensure that the conduct of its business complies with the laws.”
The casino operator, however, admitted to tapping outside suppliers to provide social media marketing services for the company “to enhance the group’s social media presence.”