Election ‘bribes’ dismissed

Election ‘bribes’ dismissed

social media
Andie Noon is running in the Beeliar by-election

A potential Canning councillor says she has no idea why a social media post offers money to follow and like her campaign page.

Andie Noon touts herself as an independent candidate, saying that Canning does not feel like home anymore and promising to challenge the status quo and what she perceives as the lack of robust debate and outcomes on council.

In an age where almost every candidate has a social media presence, the number of followers a candidate has can be seen as an indicator of how they may fair come election day.

Ms Noon has at time of print, has 1400 likes and 1500 followers on her campaign page.

By comparison, Shen Sekhon – off the back of endorsements from Mayor Patrick Hall and Deputy Mayor Ben Kunze – has just 277 likes and 339 followers.

Shouv Sarker (108 likes, 120 followers) and Raveesh John (7 likes, 448 followers) bring up the rear, while candidate Benoy Kaitharath doesn’t seem to have a social media presence.

While Ms Noon has the clear lead in the social media campaign, a post circulating on social media, forwarded to Examiner Newspapers, seems to allege a case of campaign skulduggery.

A post on Facebook Page likes & followers, made by a digital marketer based in India, seems to promise 200 rupees for 200 likes and follows for Ms Noon’s campaign.

The post links to Ms Noon’s Facebook page.

While a request for a copy of Ms Noon’s Facebook analytics was ignored, Ms Noon said she had no idea how this post happened.

“The allegations are false and I have not paid anyone for Facebook likes or followers,” she said.

“I am appalled and horrified that anyone would think that I have paid someone to [follow or like].

“Someone sent me a screen shot of the discussion and there is someone who is asking to buy likes for my page along with a link to my page.

“My question is would anyone in their right mind put their own page and try to buy likes so people can track them?”

Curtin University social media expert Professor Tama Leaver said it was possible, but unlikely, Ms Noon was unaware of the scheme.

“From a very cursory look it’s possible that a member of the community supporting her felt the need to do that, but I’m not quite sure what it would achieve, having an increase in likes from people who likely aren’t voters wouldn’t really achieve much,” he said.

“Anyone can make a request like that and try and solicit likes, it’s an odd thing for someone to do but certainly not impossible.”