HYDERABAD: Has the Telugu Desam faked its fans on Facebook? Social media experts believe that astronomical growth of FB â€œLikesâ€ for TDâ€™s official page on April 4 and â€œLikesâ€ from suspicious countries like Turkey strongly indicate that the party has resorted to a scam in order to inflate its fan numbers.
The â€œLikesâ€ for the TD official page jumped by 75,000 within a few hours from April 3 to April 4 from countries that hardly have any Indian population, leave alone from AP. After India andÂ the US, most â€œlikesâ€ are from Turkey which has no Telugu base.
The country is a known place for buying FB â€œlikesâ€ and the same thing allegedly took place in former Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlotâ€™s case in 2013.
The TD has so far 4.4 lakh â€œLikesâ€ on its FB page. Among the political parties in the country like the YSRC, AAP and the Congress, the TD has one of the highest percentage of fans from underdeveloped countries categori-sed as â€œOthers and not yet targeted countriesâ€.
Socialbakers, an international organisation that releases social statistics, revealed that the TD page has reported the highest number of hits, more than 75,000, from April 3 to April 4.
75K likes in hours amaze IT experts
The Telugu Desam is the only party with at least one per cent of fan distribution from Turkey where as for the other parties itâ€™s very negligible. The top four countries common for the BJP, YSRC and the Aam Aadmi Party are the United Arab Emirates, United States, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, apart from India, where there are large numbers of Indians.
Forum for Good Governance secretary M. Padmanabha Reddy said, â€œStandard political parties should not resort to these kind of cheap tricks. They should work for real liking of the people. Depending on social media will not yield results for the parties. The impact is less and focused on urban youth.â€
Experts say the sudden surge in the FB â€œLikesâ€ indicate that the TD has resorted to buying â€œLikesâ€.
A social media expert Y. Praveen Kumar said, â€œAt best, regional parties as well as national parties can get 3,000 to 5,000 â€˜Likesâ€™ a day. How did the TD manage to get more than 75,000 within a few hours is a big question. It is also a well-established fact that acquiring fans from Turkey is cheaper.
This is not the first time a politician has used Turkey to â€˜buyâ€™ fans. Earlier, Mr Gehlot had employed the same tactic and the national media had accusing him of buying â€˜likesâ€™. This is something fishy.â€
Mr Gehlotâ€™s Facebook page is believed to have had 2,14,639 â€œLikesâ€ till June 30 in 2013, shooting up from 1,69,077 in May. After the steep jump in â€œLikesâ€, it transpired that Mr Gehlot was more popular in Istanbul than Jaipur.
For the YSRC, the total number of FB â€œLikesâ€ are 3.94 lakh with a 95 per cent Indian base, whereas the TD has only 92 per cent Indian base. Turkey was actually in second position for the TD fans till two days ago. However, in the past few days, around 2,000 â€œLikesâ€ were added from the United States.