Modern day politicians need to use social media, and interaction on their posts is important, but an Australian MP has found out the hard way that self-praise is no praise.
On Monday, Campbelltown MP Angus Taylor shared a video on Facebook announcing more car parks for train users in his area.
One comment on the video read:
“Fantastic. Great move. Well done Angus”
This might seem like positive engagement, but the problem was who the comment came from. It was himself!
— Anonymous Songs (@mumzeda) April 30, 2019
The seemingly narcissistic comment was quickly removed, but picked up on by other social media users who screenshotted the peculiar comment, leading to it being reported on by national media, including the BBC.
The Beeb reports that Liberal Party MP Taylor and his office have not responded to the apparent error, and Taylor has since been updating his Facebook page as normal, but the incident has led some to speculate that he may be using multiple Facebook accounts to comment on his own posts and give the impression of popularity. Lifehacker.com writer Anthony Caruana seems in no doubt that this is the crux of the mistake, with the comment simply being posted from the wrong account.
If that is the case, it opens up further debate about the role of social media in politics and whether it is influencing the way we vote unfairly, particularly in light of Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal, and raises questions about how many politicians are making use of duplicate accounts in an attempt to influence voters.
Other social media users are seeing the funny side of the mix-up, with several Facebook users copying Taylor’s self-congratulatory post word for word, or praising themselves for the development.
Politicians and their social media woes
Over the years, I’ve lost count of how many blogs I’ve written about politicians making buffoons of themselves on social media. Last weekend was the eighth anniversary of Ed Balls Day, but at least that was an honest and harmless mistake. Gaffes like Taylor’s, on the other hand, raise suspicion about whether politicians are using social media ethically.
Today is an important day for politicians in Cheshire West and Chester, Wirral and 246 other English councils, as residents head to polling stations for the council elections. Let’s hope for a day free of social media slip-ups from our councillor hopefuls, at least on decision day itself.
In Taylor’s case, he has a little longer to iron out this embarrassing episode, with Australia’s federal election not being held until May 18.