The Canadian province of Quebec is abuzz with speculation about a September election and that’s helped fuel a social media scandal.
The governing Liberal Party is suggesting that Pauline Marois, the leader of the separatist Parti Quebecois (PQ), paid people to “like” her Facebook page
According to CBC
, “A video being circulated by Liberal party staffers shows a chart on the Parti Québécois leader's Facebook page that shows the number of ‘likes’ spiking for about a week-and-a-half in June and then returning to normal.”
This incident shows the stupidity and lack of social media sophistication of both
the PQ and the Liberals.
If Marois did pay Potemkin fans for “likes,” shame on the PQ for its flawed logic. Does the separatist party think anyone is dumb enough to subscribe to the philosophy that a voter will be swayed by someone's Facebook fan count?
Moreover, does anyone on the PQ team realize that these “fans” are likely to be of the fair weather variety and that money is better spent on real brand advocates who actually care about you
As for the Liberals, have they not been clued into the fact that most brands “pay” for fans via Facebook ads and/or incent people to “like” a brand page with special offers, exclusive content, etc.? It’s a bit different than their accusations against Marois, but not by much.
Beyond politics, this episode shows that while social media has played a major role in the U.S. and other segments of Canadian politics since at least 2008, Quebec's political class has a less sophisticated approach to this not so new channel.
Jackson Wightman is a PR Daily contributing editor in Montreal.