Culture

Either Young People In New Delhi Love Tony Abbott or Someone’s Buying Him Facebook Likes

You know things are bad when you're caught out by the Bondi Hipsters.

Want more Junkee in your life? Sign up to our newsletter, and follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook so you always know where to find us.

Well, this is just embarrassing. A screenshot of Tony Abbott’s Facebook page currently circulating on social media seems to suggest that our honourable Prime Minister is raking in the Likes with something other than his killer smile. While we’re sure that Tony Abbott is adored by the good people of India, the fact that a large number of his Facebook followers are comprised of young people from New Delhi has prompted many to question whether the administrators of his page — much like an insecure step-parent buying the love of their new kid with Razor scooters, Killer Pythons, and skate shoes — are boosting his public profile with purchased Facebook likes.

bondihip

But this isn’t the only reason it’s embarrassing. What makes it worse is that the news was broken by the Bondi Hipsters.

hipsters2

Yup. These are the same guys who just last week dressed up like Kim Kardashian, poured red goon all over themselves, and proudly bared a full-blown mangina to the entire country/world/universe. From hyped-up clickbait to investigative political takedown, they’re definitely doing the Internet right.

Since posting the screenshot this afternoon, many have checked its veracity and it surprisingly totally checks out. In fact, when you look at the page itself, it seems Tony had an unusual spike in popularity last week. November 18 looks to have been a very successful moment in the Prime Minister’s public life, despite it also being the day that he confused Tasmania with China and stood firmly against growing pressure to commit to climate change (presumably a topic of interest for his supposedly biggest fans between 18-35 years of age).

abbottt

Since seeing the initial news broken by the Bondi Hipsters — HOW IS THAT A SENTENCE WE’RE WRITING? — we’ve called the Prime Minster’s press office for comment. “No ‘likes’ or advertising have been purchased for the Prime Minister’s Facebook page,” a spokesperson told us. “It is no secret that the Prime Minister hosted a number of world leaders in recent times, including Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. These visits attracted large international audiences to the Prime Minister’s social media channels, thus generating a spike in organic engagement with the page.”

That story might actually check out; last week a selfie Modi and Abbott took together at the cricket went viral in India, attracting a cool 700,000 Likes.

This all comes a year after similar allegations against Tony Abbott’s Twitter account. Though his page received a staggering 70,000 extra followers in just 12 hours, the Liberal Party denied that they had purchased them (for the record it is possible for someone to purchase followers for a page they don’t manage). Once the story was published action was taken to delete the accounts which were fake.

In fact, buying social media followers is a common practice used all around the world. Similar questions arose recently over the Facebook page for the US President’s controversial Obamacare platform. A suspicious amount of activity was recorded by a small handful of extremely active users but they adamantly denied being paid for their involvement.

In Australia, it seems that the Prime Minster’s account is the only one garnering such strange activity. When you examine the Facebook pages or other politicians like Julia Gillard, Kevin Rudd, Malcolm Turnbull, Tanya Plibersek, Julie Bishop, Barnaby Joyce and Bill Shorten, the most common place their followers live is Sydney. For some reason the Indian youths just aren’t so into them.

Weird.