Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Noynoy: Remember mom and dad, vote for me!

How can you lead the country when you can't even stand up on your own?

Apparently, saying that Noynoy Aquino inherited his dead mother's fans and supporters is a bad thing and it drew a lot of interest -- even from people I don't know if I really talked with in real life but friended indiscriminately on Facebook.

Yep Bobby, Gordon's nick name is Dick -- get over it. And yeah, my wife's fine and the kid is doing great after being a bit under the weather these past few days.

Any way, another person who thought that he should react to my blog entry on Noynoy inheriting his mother's Facebook fans and supporters is Eric Pena.  He commented on my blog and introduced himself as an administrator of the Benigno "Noynoy" Simeon Aquino III (BSAIII).  He pointed certain facts that he asked me to issue a reaction to and here is my reaction.

Point one:
Eric asserts that:

1. The press release form Noy's New Media Bureau did mention that it used advertisements (please read it again!). It isn't using Google Ads (if you find one, please make a screen capture and post it on your blog).
I didn't see the Noy Media Bureau's press release as I am not on the mailing list of Noy's Media Bureau.
Anyway, I found out about Noynoy's feat of having the largest Facebook fan page among Presidential candidates through the Inquirer.

When I first read the Inquirer article "Aquino ahead of rivals in Facebook campaign" which was posted 18:41:00 01/02/2010 under the by-line of Michael Lim Ubac, it didn't mention that advertising was put out for the BSAIII fan page.

A second story titled "Aquino leads rivals in Facebook face-off" was posted later on 23:49:00 01/02/2010 still under the by-line of Michael Lim-Ubac.  I don't know if this was because Inquirer's Editors thought that this was such an earth-shaking bit of news and so decided to ask Mike to write a second story.  Or, better yet, perhaps the editors decided to rework Mike's original article and took it upon themselves to fashion a second one with essentially the same details. After all, it was already close to midnight on a Sunday and it's the holidays for Christ's sake! Have a heart!

Oddly enough, this morning, I checked the first story and found that it now mentioned that money had been spent on Facebook ads.  It now includes a paragraph saying, "Some supporters also donated a few dollars a day to widen their reach and advertise their support on the social network."

Now, there are several ways in which this could happen.  The first is that I simply overlooked this sentence. 
 The second way is that the Philippine Daily Inquirer edited the online article and inserted the sentence.

I'd rather believe that I simply overlooked this short paragraph which somewhat downplays the role of Facebook ad buys in driving up the number of fans on the BSAIII Fanpage.  I can't even entertain the notion that somebody got a hold of Mike or his editors in the Inquirer just to insert a paragraph "Some supporters also donated a few dollars a day to widen their reach and advertise their support on the social network."

I can't even begin to imagine that the GREAT INQUIRER can be persuaded!

So, Eric, my apologies for overlooking this.  However, since you seem open to discussing the fact that money was spent to promote the BSAIII fan page through Facebook Ads, perhaps you can enlighten everybody as to:

How much money was spent on the Facebook Ads to promote the BSAIII fan page?

Of course, Eric or Noynoy's media bureau can say that they don't really know who bought the Facebook ads to promote the BSAIII fan page for them and don't have the information.  If at all candidates are really supposed to pay a 5% tax on all campaign expenses, then this really makes it difficult for Comelec, the BIR, or whatever agency is to collect on the 5% owed to the government.  I wonder if Facebook is aware that they could be party to some manner of tax evasion.

Nevertheless, Comelec EID Director James Jimenez says that "All campaign expenditures need to be declared. Donations must be accepted formally by the candidate before they can be published. The publisher is bound by law to require a deed of donation and a formal acceptance."

How many 80,000 additional fans signed up because of the Facebook Ad promoting the BSAIII fan page?

What I am getting at is whether the substantial rise in the number of people who signed up on the BSAIII fan page did so out of some level of political conviction or did so because everybody else was joining or if they were merely bored or curious.
Anyway, the Inquirer article notes:
The fan page amassed more than 80,000 new supporters in 20 days. After midnight, the 201,000 target was easily surpassed, further widening the gap between Aquino and his rivals by more than 50,000 supporters.

It remains to be seen, however, if online fans and supporters would translate into votes come election day.

All five candidates uploaded photoshop-edited pictures, but only Villar was smiling; the rest were in a pensive or serious mood.
This reminds me of the Anti-Chacha cause on Facebook which had more than 70,000 members.  It was quite active in calling people to join an anti-Cha-Cha rally in Makati and it actually convinced me to join the rally.  I'd say of the 70,000 members of the cause who were invited to join the rally, only about 1 to 5 percent actually came.

Point two:
Eric asserts that:
2. What multiple accounts are you saying? Please present proof!
Actually, it's actually quite difficult to prove that a Facebook user actually made up several dummy Facebook Accounts and used these accounts to swell up the BSAIII Fan Page.

Unless, of course, one actually pore through each and every member of the BSAIII Fan Page and tries to figure out if one account is a dummy or genuine.

Dummy accounts can actually be made very convincing.  However creating a lot of dummies in a short span of time cause the creator to create accounts that have sparse details, few friends, and very sparse activity or almost no other activity other than joining the BSAIII.  I know this for a fact because I made a lot of dummy accounts to boost the number of my mafia members in Mob Wars.

Suffice it to say, I have more than one FB Account. In fact, a couple of my friends also have more than one Facebook account -- nearly all of them are members of BSAIII and they have enlisted more than one account in the fan page just incase one of their accounts gets banned.

Perhaps it would be best if a member of the BSAIII Fan Page came out to admit that he or she actually made up as many as 20 dummy Facebook accounts. Who knows, maybe that person or those persons will make themselves known in the coming days.

However, just because one BSAIII fan page member did this, it doesn't mean that scores of other BSAIII fan page members did the same thing under orders from the BSAIII fan page administrator.
The point is, the fact that dummy Facebook accounts can be made as easily as multiple e-mail addresses is already fair indication that the 211,000 members of the BSAIII fan page may not all be real people.

Like this guy:

I mean, if that were a really his face, I'd be very concerned.  Sorry for sounding mean, but I'd probably call an ambulance if I bumped into him in a dark alley.

Point three
Eric asserts that:
3. If you just check the Facebook page title, you'll see it's not the same Facebook page. The one you're referring to is a Personal Page called "Benigno Noynoy Aquino III". The Official Facebook Fan Page of Noynoy is called "Benigno "Noynoy" S. Aquino III. It even has a different profile picture (I wonder why you deleted the picture in your screen capture)

Furthermore, the Official FB page is a Fan Page. You know what that means? A Fan Page has no way of changing it's name. Not even Facebook will change it for you. You can fact check it with Facebook. Or read complaints from users why they can't change the page name: http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?uid=10381469571&topic=7227

Also, the site you're referring to isn't owned by the Noy New Media Team so it has no control over it. It is a personal site and we have no idea who owns it.

The Official Noy FB Fan Page was created in Sept 3, 2009. If I can post a screenshot here, I'll show you a graph of how it started from zero fans.
The point IS whether fan pages purportedly created for Cory Aquino can or is being used to draw people to pages that openly campaign for Noynoy Aquino.  The point is whether or not Noynoy, having no real accomplishments of his own, are borrowing the accomplishments of his dead parents to prop up his bid for the Presidency.  The point is whether or not NOYNOY AQUINO IS ENGAGED IN NECROPOLITICS.

But before that, let me tell Master Facebook Pagemaker Eric that AS FAR AS FACEBOOK IS CONCERNED there is no distinction between a Personal Page and an Official Fan Page on Facebook. 

There is just a Facebook Page and that's it.

Is there actually an option that allows you to can get Facebook to distinguish a Personal Page from an Official Page, I'd like to know about it and find out if there are special options that you can get in an Official Fan Page that doesn't come in a Personal Page.

Anyway, Eric is correct that the name of Fan pages cannot be changed.  So this means that the commenter who claimed that the Noynoy Aquino fan page (http://www.facebook.com/cory.aquino) was originally a Cory Aquino fan page is wrong.  Great, but that's not really the point.

But, why does the "personal" Benigno Noynoy Aquino III (http://www.facebook.com/cory.aquino) have the Facebook username "cory.aquino"? 

Oh yeah, Eric, you conveniently don't know who made it and can't possibly tell me why the page has the cory.aquino username.  Convenient, very convenient.

"....the site you're referring to isn't owned by the Noy New Media Team so it has no control over it. It is a personal site and we have no idea who owns it."

Then again, that doesn't mean that the Benigno Noynoy Aquino III wasn't able to harness the benefits of having the "cory.aquino" user name to amass 200,000 fans as claimed by my anonymous commenter.

Going back to my point, fan pages purportedly created for Cory Aquino can be and is being used to campaign for Noynoy Aquino.

Case in point is the Yellow Ribbon for President Cory Aquino with 68,268 fans and now carries a picture of Cory and Ninoy Aquino below which are the words "Ipagpapatuloy ko."

Now, it can be argued that the words "ipapagpatuloy ko" (I will continue) are attributed to Cory Aquino, but then again, how can a dead woman continue anything? So, most likely, "ipapagpatuloy ko" is better attributed to Noynoy Aquino and is a rather subtle attempt at saying that Noynoy Aquino will continue the legacy of Cory and Ninoy -- which ain't all that great.

Judging from the wallposts, the Facebook page Yellow Ribbon for Cory Aquino is no longer a page devoted to the memory of Cory Aquino.  It is now a campaign page using the memory of Cory Aquino to get votes for Noynoy.

Just to provide some contrast, the Cory Aquino page which has 177,958 fans (which is oddly about 40,000 less than BSAIII), contains comments mostly about the memory of Cory Aquino.

I think the Cory Aquino page is a more genuine fan page because it drew fans not because it was being actively promoted, but because there was a genuine outpouring of affection and admiration for Cory Aquino during the time of her illness and death.

Now, owning the Facebook user name cory.aquino presents a distinct advantage, especially during the long weeks when people followed updates on her health, the day when she died, and the days when her funeral was shown on TV.

During that time, people were really looking for Cory Aquino on Facebook and so having cory.aquino as a username means drawing all the traffic for Facebook searches using the words "cory aquino".

However, a visitor upon landing on a Facebook account/page/group that is different from the one he or she is searching for may lead to two things: The visitor may still go ahead and friend/join the account/page/group or go to a Facebook account/page/group.

But supposing that the http://www.facebook.com/cory.aquino were a Facebook account and this was actually a Cory Aquino Facebook account with the appropriate username, the account would then draw traffic and it would quickly reach its 5,000 friend limit.  Upon reaching this limit, the user controlling the Cory Aquino Facebook account could then post a status update recommending that those who want to friend Cory Aquino can just join a page -- hmmm, like the BSAIII Official Fan Page.

I've heard of the phrase "failure to launch" (which refers to children who fail to live independently even after coming to age), but using your dead mother to gun for  the highest office in the land is a whole new level of pathetic.  If the meaning of the word pathetic had a rock bottom, you'd have to dig under that to get to the new level of pathetic I am talking about.

How can we expect Noynoy Aquino to lead the country when he can't even stand up on his own accomplishments?

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