Libs caught manipulating Twitter

A tweet by the Opposition Environment Spokesman Greg Hunt which received over 211 retweets and reached the top spot of the popular ‘auspol’ hashtag, has sparked claims that the Liberal Party is using an army of fake accounts to boost the popularity of their tweets.

For those who don’t know, the auspol hashtag is used by tweeters as a tag to discuss Australian political matters. The tweet in question was posted last Friday by Mr Hunt saying ‘Another 60 jobs to go in Adelaide from Penrice Soda. Carbon Tax named as part of the reason. A real blow #auspol’. A number of social media experts have analysed the accounts that retweeted Mr Hunt’s comments and found that the large majority were fake accounts who had also retweeted other anti-Labor messages.

It is apparent that one of the key Liberal party messages leading into the next election will be ‘abolish the Carbon Tax’. In the political game, it is important to get the upper-hand on your opponents in any and every source of media. While it may be against the terms of use Twitter has in place, creating an anti-Labor propaganda machine via social networking is a smart move, even when you get caught using it.

The real question in all of this is: what happens now? Twitter has removed all of the fake accounts involved, but has not touched Greg Hunt’s account. As long as the people who set up the fake accounts were careful, there is no way to link the accounts back to anyone within the Liberal party and therefore, no ramifications.

It was good while it lasted, but it is hard to see the Liberal party attempting this marketing strategy in the near future as they will now be watched closely by journalists and the political opposition.