Thursday 1 January 2015

SMRT Ltd (Feedback): From troll to online vigilante to just another blogger?

In November, online spoofers SMRT Ltd (Feedback), who have been around since December 2011, finally broke into the mainstream with the Sim Lim Square-Mobile Air-Jover Chew saga.

SMRT Ltd (Feedback) were mentioned several times by The Straits Times:
Nov 5: Netizens expose details of Sim Lim Square mobile shop owner who bullied Vietnamese tourist

Nov 10: Online vigilante group in Sim Lim saga says its Paypal account was suspended

Nov 11: Man files police report after fake web article claims he was arrested for online vigilantism

Nov 22: Even Jover Chew deserves due process of law
Yahoo noted SMRT Ltd (Feedback)'s transformation "from troll group To Internet vigilantes".

Feeling empowered after the Sim Lim saga, SMRT Ltd (Feedback) looked around to see who else to unleash its special brand of online Charles Bronson-type justice on and settled on Data Register Pte Ltd.

That was on Dec 18.

Then on Dec 23, Xiaxue happened and no one cared about Data Register anymore.

So SMRT Ltd (Feedback) swung their gun turret around and set their sights on a new target.

Online gawkers got their popcorn ready.

Jover Chew-slayer SMRT Ltd (Feedback) versus Tyre Queen Xiaxue - what fight fan wouldn't salivate at the prospect?

So after much build-up, SMRT Ltd (Feedback) finally released their Xiaxue & Nuffnang Exposé (Part I) yesterday.

It's long and filled with charts and graphs, not unlike XX's Gushcloud expose and Gushcloud's "official response" to XX.

It also repeats some analysis on another blog regarding trade receivable and trade payable. Who knew SMRT Ltd (Feedback) were such accounting nerds?

As someone commented: "This is an... exposé? Even my shrivelled orange was juicier."

SMRT Ltd (Feedback)'s retort to their disappointed followers:
"If you guys were expecting the expose to be Xiaxue's address, phone number, her husband company boss contact etc. her personal life, email records - don't bother.

"Yes we have them all. But we don't roll that way now. It's 2015. Let's grow up."
Even XX acknowledged this chivalry in her just-as-long charts-and-graphs-filled response to SMRT Ltd (Feedback)'s response to her exposé:
"I give credit when it's due: Thank you, Pussies, for not going so low. My family and friends are innocent and should not be involved. Good Pussies."
But she still called them vaginas. Or is it cats? Anyway, "pussies" is definitely an insult.

Less than five hours later, SMRT Ltd (Feedback) responded to her response to their response to her exposé with more charts and graphs. This could go on.

It's very unlike SMRT Ltd (Feedback) to bring themselves down to XX's level and fight her on her terms, ie all those charts and graphs. One would've expected something more subversive from a group who named themselves after a real-life public transport corporation as a joke and kept that name after the joke has been forgotten.

But is SMRT Ltd (Feedback) justified in targeting XX in the first place?

Sure, she is "bloody annoying acting all innocent and shit", but she's no Jover Chew.

But then SMRT Ltd (Feedback) also appear to be pulling their punches with XX. It's no longer online vigilantism - it's just another blogger analysing the XX-Gushcloud saga, which quite a few bloggers have already done.

If not for the AirAsia disaster, the saga would probably get more coverage in the mainstream press, but for now, the SMRT Ltd (Feedback)-XX bloodless feud remains confined in the back alleys of cyberspace.

The folks at Gushcloud must be grateful to SMRT Ltd (Feedback) for doing their fighting for them. And Data Register Pte Ltd seemed to have dodged a bullet.

Meanwhile, we await SMRT Ltd (Feedback)'s Xiaxue & Nuffnang Exposé (Part II).

As SMRT Ltd (Feedback) admitted: "At the end of the day, this isn’t a battle of numbers or ethics. It’s who has a bigger ego."

EARLIER: How Xiaxue made Roy Ngerng look good

UPDATE: 'Cheeky fella': PM Lee finds out about SMRT Ltd (Feedback)