Something dodgy is going on with the Facebook pages of some very notable Australians.
Most public pages on Facebook enjoy an increase in their likes at a rate of about .2% per week, but observant Facebook users this week noticed numbers well above the average for members of the Australian Liberal Party.
From a selection of 21 members of the Liberal Party, 21 non-Libs, as well as 21 other notable Australians (correction – some non-Australians), a noticeable spike in the number of new page likes occurred last week, most within a 24 hour period, on pages representing senior Liberal Party members. The same spike was not present in any other group, as seen below.
This image shows the likes of 21 non-Liberal Party politicians over the same seven day period – the increases in their likes do not match up, as you’d expect.
Compared with the page likes over the last week of 11 Coalition Cabinet Ministers –
And here are the pages of 21 random celebrities, excluding those who don’t have pages –
Lastly, an image showing all 63 sampled pages (excluding those in which the likes were not available). Even here the spike in the Lib’s likes is prominent –
While a visual comparison of all 63 sampled pages provides a jumble of spikes and troughs, lining up the Lib’s pages shows a curious anomaly – a prominent spike in new likes, all but two with a 24 hour period.
Further more, the average increase in likes for Liberal Party members is way above the average of .2%, coming in at a whopping 11.5% – that’s about sixty times the average! (Tony Abbott’s overall likes jumped 19.7%, or 78,000 new fans).
So not only is there a curious jump in in likes over one day last week – the jump itself is curiously large. (It’s the same as if you went from going to the gym three times a week to seventeen times a day, or watched two hundred and forty episodes of Game of Thrones instead of the usual four).
For the record, here are the numbers relating to the Liberal Party and Non-Liberal Party members I sampled, and their total vs. new likes for the week ending Sunday night. The first column of numbers represents the increase in total likes for each member, while the second indicates the increase in likes over the previous week.
It may seem like small change – after all, who really cares about likes on Facebook? Unless you’re talking about a snap you’ve posted of your new pug, most people aren’t really all that concerned with the number of likes they receive. And is it really a surprise that a party known for its manipulation of the media would fiddle with its Facebook numbers?
If the numbers, however, are to be believed (and they came straight from Facebook), it’s hard to come to any conclusion other than someone in the Liberal Party is paying for Facebook likes. And someone is making it happen.
Again, this might not seem surprising. But when you think about it, what these numbers reveal are actions which are designed to deceive, pure and simple. They might be Facebook numbers, but don’t forget that Facebook is a billion dollar company for a reason – because people take it seriously, and it’s effects on the real world are not imaginary; probably why every member of the Cabinet, bar two, have a page. Only thirteen of the celebrities sampled had similar Facebook profiles.
Facebook stipulates that nobody is allowed to create a page for anyone other than themselves; that is, essentially, that if the page is about you, it’s your responsibility. It also stipulates that it’s against its terms and conditions to do anything misleading, as mentioned in its terms of service:
- You will not use Facebook to do anything unlawful, misleading, malicious, or discriminatory..
So not only are the likes a cause for concern for whoever is managing the pages – they’re also a very real indication of the tactics the Liberal Party chooses to undertake; with party funds no less.
While buying likes isn’t illegal, it must be something which would be frowned upon by most people – especially if it’s something done by politicians, even if it is on social media.
For me, it’s just another bit of evidence that demonstrates where Liberal Party members are at – anything for the show, but it’s all candy. And no worries if you’re doing something immoral.
More importantly, though – what do the Australian people think of it?
That’s the important question.
update: It seems like more than just half the cabinet enjoyed a spike on 18/11. More Libs, and non-Libs, have similar activity on the Facebook pages, begging the question – where are they coming from? Why are the spikes so uniform? And could they really all be caused by one photo the PM appeared in with his Indian counterpart?
For that to be true, tens of thousands of Indian men based in New Delhi must have thought ‘It’s not just Tony who’s worth checking out – it’s his entire party!’, and liked them all, simultaneously. That would explain the spike’s occurrence over a single 24 hour period – as the PM’s office suggests is the case.
So here are three more fellas whose likes enjoyed a spike at exactly the same time as the PM’s, and most of his party. Notice that because Katter’s page was only sampled today (27.11.2014), the corresponding point in his graph occurs on the faint line, one from the right. That’s the same day most of the Libs spiked. Baird and Robb spiked one day earlier.
On a less worrying note – IYDIW is pleased to find that Dame Edna Everage does not seem to be involved.