Roughly seven months before the elections, the Philippine social media community has been abuzz with posts about FAKE — fake reactions, fake followers, and fake FB pages. It looks like everyone is accusing everyone else of maliciously using social media to make the engagements of their bets look good.
Posts about candidates now controlling Facebook pages previously unrelated to election campaigns are circulating on social media. Facebook users supporting different candidates are using it as proof that the opposing candidate is buying FB pages to influence users.
Many users believe that the more likes your page gets, the more likely real Facebook users would notice it, making the content viral. This speculation prompted social media “experts” to advise their clients to legally take over pages with existing followers by buying or asking the owner to “donate” them to the candidate.
Taking over Facebook pages with existing followers is the reason why you could see a Facebook page known as “Ikaw ang TV ng Pilipinas” transformed to “BBM Tayo FB Page.” A “Grace Poe 2016 FB page” that was changed to “Robredo for Better Philippines 2022” and another “Grace Poe for President 2016” to “Isko Moreno for President 2022”. The owners of these pages could have given them to the candidates, or as we found out, the owners may have sold the pages.
We tried to set up a new political page for a “candidate,” and we learned that the whole process of getting instant followers would only take less than an hour if you are willing to pay.
We searched for “FB page for sale Philippines,” and we got many results using the search option of Facebook. We decided to choose one and sent a message asking for more details about it.
We found out that a page with 100 thousand likes could be yours for nine thousand pesos. The FB user we contacted about this offered us the 12-thousand follower FB page for our political candidate.
I decided (with permission) to use a friend for this experiment. ABS-CBN journalist Jacque Manabat is also doing a story about this topic. She agreed to use her name and photos as my political candidate for the upcoming elections to know how easy (or hard) it is to set up a political page with instant followers.
I sent the payment via GCash, and the person I was messaging with gave me an admin role in a k-pop group with more than 12 thousand followers. He, however, reminded me not to directly change all the settings of the page as Facebook could unpublish the page should inauthentic behavior be detected by the social media network’s AI.
After changing the display pictures, I immediately received a notice from FB asking me if I wanted to place an ad to grow my page. The “Jacque Manabat for Councilor Movement” page with more than 12 thousand likes proves that setting up a page with instant followers is easy.
I’m sharing this not to encourage you to take the easy way. A Facebook page is like a community, and it takes time before you can build and develop trust among the users. This article shows that you cannot trust social media when it comes to reaction surveys. You cannot rely on the number of followers to determine the success of a page. If your social media expert recommends buying an existing page for instant followers, drop him.
Like my previous article about buying Facebook reactions, buying a Facebook page is not illegal. Companies offering social media services that could give you likes, hearts, wow reactions, followers, and FB pages are legitimate businesses. Some of these companies employ sophisticated algorithms, modern marketing techniques, and new strategies to provide their clients with the best results. Other companies, however, would recommend buying pages and reactions. Get the company that would give you solutions to a problem, not the company that would offer you the easier way to get your goal quickly but could give you more problems at the end.
Be careful. Social media surveys and follower counts are not a reliable way to accurately get the pulse of the people as they could be easily manipulated.