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Doping Followers: Los Angeles fears Paris 2024?

A guest post written by: Bruno Guimbert, Analyst at Digital Insighters
Originally posted on Digital Insighters

The campaign is raging between Los Angeles and Paris for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games. After withdrawals from Boston, Hamburg, Rome, and Budapest, both cities are in the home stretch before the final decision at the 130th session of the International Olympic Committee being held from 13 to 17 September 2017 in Lima (Peru).

We used Affinio to analyze and visualize the followers of the candidates (@LA2024 and @Paris2024) and understand the interests of each audience. Through the analysis of social data, we will understand who each candidate is attracting.

Paris 2024, an ecosystem already organized and ready to host the Olympic Games

With more than 87,000 followers, the Twitter account @Paris2024 shows a professional, political, and institutional enthusiasm.

Following the economic and social success of UEFA EURO 2016, it would seem that France is ready to host a new sporting event of global scale.

In our analysis of the @Paris2024 audience, we found the following audience segments:

  • Official sports organizations and federations (e.g. France, sport, club, official)
  • Sports fans (e.g. sports, football, rugby, handball)
  • Fans of television celebrities (e.g. Cyril Hanouna, TF1, C8)
  • Television professionals (e.g. animators, directors, animators)
  • Those interested in politics (e.g. Emmanuel Macron, Anne Hidalgo, Alain Juppé)

A last community emerges “US & UK Sports” (identified by their location), which shows a strong interest in media and sports organizations from the United Kingdom and the United States.

Los Angeles 2024, an acquisition of followers thanks to click farms

The Twitter account @LA2024 counts more than 115,000 followers, nearly 30,000 more than the French account.

In our analysis, we found the following relevant audience segments:

  • Sports fans (e.g. sports, coach, Olympic, baseball)
  • Pop culture fans (e.g. Ellen DeGeneres, Emma Watson)
  • People interested in politics (e.g. political leaders, opinions, conservative, God)
  • The inhabitants of the Californian city

However, Los Angeles seems to have used click farms (or follower farms) to boost their numbers on social networks. The principle of these farms is usually to pay a large group of people to carry out a digital action (eg Follow or Retweet on Twitter) in exchange for small sums of money. These low wages are attractive in some disadvantaged regions of the world.

As explained in an article by Reputatio Lab, Los Angeles would like to position itself as a more digital city by presenting figures more inflated than those of Paris.

Our analysis has enabled us to identify several geographical areas: Africa, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. Regions where it is not unusual to find click farms. Followers from these three countries account for 26% of Los Angeles 2024 account followers.

[Recommended Read: How-To Detect Fake Audiences]

Does this doping of followers for the American city show a lack of involvement at the local level?

It is undeniable that the digital strength of candidate cities will be a key element in the final decision of the International Olympic Committee. However, seeing Los Angeles’s need to resort to click farms, it is possible to cast doubt on the commitment and willingness of American citizens to host the 2024 Olympic Games.

This lack of ethics in Los Angeles’s strategy is extremely risky, in an era when social networks can quickly grab a subject to turn it into bad buzz. Does the importance of a strong digital presence justify all means? Los Angeles seems to have decided that yes.

To conclude, nothing is yet gained for Paris. Today, the enthusiasm remains professional and media. The next challenge for the French candidacy is to succeed in reaching and convincing the general public.

About the author:

Bruno Guimbert is an Analyst at Digital Insighters. He is passionate about digital marketing as well as the latest tech and startups. You can connect with Bruno on Linkedin.