If the PR of Bollywood celebrity Shah Rukh Khan states that the star is popular in European countries then I might accept it. What if you are told that General Secretary of All India Congress Committee and Incharge of Communication Department Ajay Maken is popular in countries like Turkey, Russia, Ukrain, etc? Are you surprised? I am not since this is one of the facets of how to become popular on social media!
While frisking around on Twitter trends two weeks ago, I had found a tweet that had shared Social Bakers data which showed the popularity of Ajay Maken on Facebook. A similar story has been published by ET that states Ajay Maken’s verified Facebook page which has more than 99K fans is showing great support from countries like Turkey (33%), Russia (25%) and Ukraine (12.4%). Though the politician who represents the ruling party has a minuscule support of 3% from India.
So why would a non-English speaking nation where Indians are not even a minority, favour Ajay Maken? Were the Facebook likes/fans bought this time too? My guess is as good as yours. Though the party thinks differently and a spokesperson for Maken said to ET that,
“Nobody has control over who clicks like on Shri Ajay Maken’s Facebook page or for that matter anybody else’s Facebook page.”
The claim made by the spokesperson is true that anyone can like anyone’s page. Facebook believes in openness but at the same time it is also a known fact that to get your page visible to the audience of Russia, Turkey, etc. you will have to put money on ads. I am sure that Maken’s social media team would target Indians rather than Europeans. Moreover I don’t buy the logic of people from European countries liking Maken’s page. Why would Europeans be interested in Indian politics and that to keep themselves informed about the updates from the VP of AICC? Last I had heard that Russia was a fan of the late flamboyant Bollywood director Raj Kapoor.
Is it the first case? No it is not and if you have ever been associated with a digital/social media agency then you would know that buying likes/followers is not a tough job. Do a simple Google search and you will get the cheapest rate or just land up on the website of Freelancer and you can hire people who will get real, active Facebook users to like your page. The same goes for Twitter. Nowadays, these cheap bots have become intelligent and they perform few activities too.
Buying Likes/Followers most of the parties and brands have adopted
Last month a similar story had surfaced that the Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has bought fans on Facebook since he was more popular in Istanbul. I guess Salman Khan should be popular in the country after delivering the box office success Ek Tha Tiger.
Even the General Secretary of Congress party, Digvijaya Singh has a fan following of 53% from Turkey but at the same time he is also having a fan following of 68% from India. However, he denied of having any Facebook page when ET contacted him. I guess the minister has forgotten that he has a verified Facebook page with more than 4K fans and his page is also constantly being updated by his Twitter tweets. These days he finds Twitter much easier to share his rants where he has more than 76K followers.
Not only the Congress even the opposition Bharatiya Janta Party has adopted the same means in past when a report claimed that more than 50% of Twitter followers of the BJP’s PM candidate, Narendra Modi were fake.
Recently it was also revealed that the US State Department officials have spent $630,000 to get more Facebook “likes.” The department’s Bureau of International Information Programs spent the money to increase its “likes” count between 2011 and March 2013. The spending increased the bureau’s English-language Facebook page likes from 100,000 to more than 2 million and to 450,000 on Facebook’s foreign-language pages.
We will see more such stories surfacing since we live in the herd mentality of running behind numbers and also because of the ongoing social media war between Congress and BJP. In midst of all this we forgot that social media is about connecting with the people. That is very rarely done and for that matter no government will ever be happy to do so.
Image courtesy: ET