Is Presidential Candidate Donald Trump Buying Social Media Fans?
Donald Trump has been making waves all across the media ever since he began running for office and whatever your views of him are in the political race you cannot deny he has an impressive social media following. Over 1.5 million Facebook Followers and almost as many Twitter followers- this guy seems to have a strong following in the online world. Yet something quickly become apparent when you look at his followers online. Only an estimated 42 percent of Trump’s 1,694,561 Facebook are American. Most of the remaining see to be from developing countries and nations like the Philippines, India, South Africa, Malaysia, Indonesia, Chile, Romania and Colombia, a Vocativ analysis shows. Is this really so surprising or any reason for concern?
International Support? Or Cheap Fakes?
It’s not really all that unusual for Trump to have followers from these countries as he is a famous businessman who is known round the world, he run the Miss Universe pageant, and is the owner of properties worldwide. Yet, some countries like Turkey, Korea, Ireland, and Dubai, where Trump does have properties and businesses established, he doesn’t have any strong social media following anywhere. What he does seem to have are a lot of followers who seem to have fake accounts and this is causing some concern and a fair bit of disdain among voters.
Trump Buying Social Media is Growth Hacking
Individuals, businesses, and really anyone with an online social media page or a website can buy likes, and comments and followers. May of these ‘farmer accounts’ come from third world and developing countries where workers are paid only a few dollars for hours of work. They create accounts on the social media pages and like and leave comments on the pages that hired them and then they are on to the next job-thus leaving that account dead from that point on.
This has given rise to the term ‘zombie account’ being used quite a bit to describe these fake accounts that are bought. It is quite apparent something is up with Trump’s social media pages since on Facebook alone 1 in every 27 Trump followers has an account linked to the Philippines. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz among others who were in the presidential race also have followers from there; however, only 1 out of 519 Cruz followers and 1 out of 573 Rubio followers hail from that one Southeast Asian country. Why are Trump’s figures so much higher? Some point to buying fake likes and followers as the most likely reason for these higher figures for Trump.
Did the Google “Buy Twitter Followers” and go from there?
So, how much money is Trump paying for these followers? Some pages offer this sort of service for a monthly fee ranging from $100-$500 a month for thousands of like, follows, and comments. Even if you figure the Trump campaign is spending $1000 a month on fake social media support, that is nothing but pocket change to a millionaire. The issue comes from the ethical standpoint and the sneaky way it tries to paint him in a more popular, liked, and accepted light- dishonesty even before he is elected! What’s even scarier is the fact that he isn’t just buying the fans, he’s buying the engagement, on twitter called a retweet. He may have effectively used these morally questionable tactics to trick his own fans into thinking there really was a “movement”. You would be crazy to not use every option available when you need to get more social media engagement on Twitter to demonstrate the rapid growth of a campaign, movement, or organization of any form that you are promoting. Further, showcasing the growth you experience will add to your success via social proof and you’ll rapidly become snowballing with people jumping on the bandwagon.