It’s been realised today that Tony Abbott has a few new fans. Well, 51,808 new fans, to be exact. The most interesting part, however, is that the majority of Tone’s Facebook likes are from New Delhi, India. Not exactly the right demographic and definitely not the ones that will be voting for you, but damn Tone, you tried.
The Prime Minister’s Facebook page has jumped an extraordinary amount in the last week, with his page officially clocking up 395,043 likes at time of writing. Tone’s getting in with the Gen Y, it seems, but he’s most popular with the completely wrong nation’s youth. Triple J presenter and musician, Lindsay McDougall did a bit of research simply from his phone’s Facebook app to mark up how Tone fares against other notable politicians.
When the image first broke that Abbott’s Facebook popularity was most concentrated in the Indian capital of New Delhi, sparks and accusations flew that the Prime Minister is essentially paying for likes – investing money into Facebook so that he looks more popular with the kids. There are mentions of fake accounts located in India, which are being used to spam the politician’s page with support through likes. There are whispers of this all being a big ruse to make him look like he’s a bit hit with the 18-34 demographic.
Though this may be entirely possible, given that he is the only politician with a strange majority of fans from a country that he doesn’t even preside over, it’s also very likely that this image is the reason why the New Delhi demographic of 18-34 year olds have a soft spot for old man Tones.
The above image was posted by India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, whilst visiting Australia. It’s great that the old boys are willing to snap a selfie during a stop at the MCG, and it seems that over 700,000 Facebook users agree. Modi’s sheer popularity with the Indian public is an indicator as to why Tony Abbott copped a lot of Facebook love that day. The selfie was published on November 18, which, funnily enough, is the exact same date that Tony Abbott’s Facebook page had a huge spike in new fans.
Granted, I wouldn’t put it past Tony to be putting money into his social media presence so that he looks ‘hip’ and ‘with it’ – and possibly pick up some more of that tasty, tasty Gen Y/youth vote in the next election – the question here is, do we find it worrying that this is a very real possibility? Is it unethical for politicians to be throwing in money to their social media spread? Is paying for likes even actually worth it?
Search Engine Journal conducted a study back in 2012 that shows very little change in reach and traffic before and after paying for advertising on Facebook. Sure, your page may pick up a bunch of followers, but majority of those followers are fake, meaning that they’re just a number. They’re not active on any of your posts, and fake accounts typically have no friends, so the reach you have won’t change much, if at all. Some businesses believe that promoting their pages through paying for advertisements on Facebook is a necessity in garnering popularity and reach on the social media site, meanwhile others seem to do alright with organic reach and shareable content.
But, that being said, it’s alright for businesses to put money where their mouth – or in this case, typing fingers – are. Is it okay for politicians, those guys trying to sway your votes come next local, state, and federal elections, to put money into their social media presence? Does instances like Tony Abbott’s today make his Facebook presence look more hilarious and cringeworthy than questionable?
Feature Image: Tumblr