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July 29, 2008 | by  | in Online Only | [ssba]

Facebook Politics

Following on from my post last night about election campaigns and such, I thought it would be funny interesting to see how the parties were using Facebook as a means to communicate directly to New Zealanders.

Facebook is an interesting platform to advertise on. It is free to set up a fan page or group page you have people declaring their support publicly for a certain politician or party and the pages are very easy to edit, update and manipulate.

I found the easiest place to start was to find the “Browse all Politicians” page which lists the fan pages of politicians in order of supporters. Of course most of the politicians on this page are American, because pretty much everyone in America has Facebook.

Top 10 politicians according to Facebook

  1. Barack Obama: 1,219,305 supporters (biggest supporters page on FB)
  2. John McCain: 182,176 supporters
  3. Hillary Clinton: 160,466 supporters
  4. Ron Paul: 92,422 supporters
  5. Michelle Obama: 61,565 supporters
  6. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk: 58,056 supporters
  7. Wen Jai-bao: 55,829 supporters
  8. Mike Huckabe: 52,280 supporters
  9. Mitt Romney: 35,909 supporters
  10. John Edwards: 31361 supporters

Honourable mentions that come before any New Zealand Politicians:

  • Arnold Schwarzenegger: 27,671
  • Boris Johnson: 13,595
  • Mohammed Ali Jinnah: 9,649

  • King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud: 6,368

John Key


The highest ranked New Zealand politician is John Key who has 4,927 supporters. The page is pimped out with an RSS feed, video box, links to all the parties main websites, photos of John Key (because you can never get enough of them!) and a sweet as discussion board. John Key’s FB page is a a good place where people can get information about what he and the Nats are doing, and find links to policy and other information.

Helen Clark


Helen Clark is miles behind on 1,833 supporters. Her page is slightly bigger than John Key’s but has a whole lot more photo and video content available. It also has links to major party websites and the electoral commission. There is no RSS feed on the page but the notes section looks like it is updated semi-regularly.

There were no other New Zealand politicians with fan pages that had over 500 fans, and by the 14th page of profiles my eyes were starting to glaze…

The Greens


The Greens were the only party to have a supporters page (that was easy to find) on FB. They have 619 fans. The page has an RSS feed from Frogblog as well as links to all the major party websites. There is a YouTube box on there and heaps of photo and most importantly a tab for upcoming events.

Fan pages are important because parties can push information out, and make the page a hub for communication of policy and propaganda. They put you in touch with like minded people and allow a variety of multimedia resources to be at the potential voters finger tips.

Group pages however are a bit different. They are less adaptable than supporters pages, you cannot add applications onto them, and they feel a bit old now that the supporters pages are being used.

However some of the parties seem to unofficial groups of Facebook. National has two groups, one with 42 members, and the other with 32. There is also a page called: Wait, was that a National Party policy? No no, such a thing doesn’t exist with 68 supporters.

Labour had a decent group site with 293 members, United Future have a supporters group page with 14 supporters and ACT had 10. but the Green party was over all winner with 322 members of its group. In saying that however the Don’t vote Labour group page had 606 members.

Facebook is an easy way for parties to put information out there to people who may otherwise be politically apathetic or ignorant. Although I’m not sure about that ACT ads from the last post. I got a different one today which told me that instead of voting National, I should vote ACT because National are pussy’s.

Also Facebook is open to abuse. I mean there are lots of humorous pages, like Winston Peters for Prime Minister, and this one which I just found:

John Keys


John Keys seems to be a parody of John Key… anyways here is the link. Have fun Facebooking!


About the Author ()

The editor of this fine rag for 2009.

Comments (17)

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  1. Nick Archer says:

    Thanks for that Jackson, keep us posted closer to the election if you notice if there are any big increases in the number of supporters as the campaigns get under way… Helen on John both look cheese…

  2. Cliquot says:

    I don’t buy the fact that John Key has nearly 5000 supporters. David Cameron has less 4438, in a country of 65 millionish people, with the biggest poll leads over Labour in ages, and whose page has been around longer than Key’s. Something doesn’t add up.

  3. Jackson Wood says:

    Well… I dunno, National is the biggest party in NZ, which definitely includes some of the better off people, who can afford internet connections, and to be on the internet… I don’t think it is unreasonable to assume that there are nearly 5000 people out there who have clicked a button to say they support John Key. A quick survey of people who’se profiles aren’t private shows me some of those people also support Helen Clark, Russel Norman and other people… John Keys on the other hand…

  4. Michael Oliver says:

    John Keys is so gentle…

    I’m joining King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud’s supporters page so fucking hard

  5. That John Keys fella is a pretty dashing dude.

  6. peteremcc says:

    Actually, the ACT group with 10 people isn’t the official one. The official one has around 70 people.

    Theres also an ACT on Campus group, as well as pages for some of our candidates that have been announced so far.

    As for the adverts, its something we’re testing out at the moment.

  7. Gibbon says:

    Please feel free to correct me,
    but it seems you can’t post comments on politician’s walls without being a ‘supporter’.
    I notice a lot of negative comments on Key’s profile, but not many on Clark’s. Perhaps a lot of his ‘supporters’ are actually people who were forced to join so they can goad Key?
    Just a thought

  8. Jackson Wood says:

    This is true Gib,
    But the trick is that you can comment on the wall, and then un-become a supporter and your comment stays there. Just look at the first ever comment on John Key’s wall (chuckle).

  9. John Keys says:

    Fascist Facebook have slain John Keys. I personally blame one Andrew Smith who is a young mindless National Party zealot, for kept confusing me with John Key.

    Fuck you all. I’m moving to Australia.

    ———- Forwarded message ———-
    From: Facebook
    Date: Thu, Jul 31, 2008 at 10:32 AM
    Subject: Facebook Warning


    You created a Page that has violated our Terms of Use, and this Page has been removed. Facebook Pages are special profiles used solely for commercial, political, or charitable purposes. Among other things, Pages that are hateful, threatening, or obscene are not allowed. We also take down Pages that attack an individual or group, or that are set up by an unauthorized individual. Continued misuse of Facebook’s features could result in your account being disabled.

    If you have any questions or concerns, you can visit the Terms applicable to Facebook Pages at

    The Facebook Team

  10. Michael Oliver says:

    Awwww, now how the fuck am I going to learn about John Keys’ laser bones and robot hands?

    You were too good for us, John Keys. Ka kite ano…

  11. Nick Archer says:

    That is a DANGEROUS precedent set by Facebook, where does this leave political satire, I bet there will be no Onion, or style profiles and pages.

    I haven’t seen the John Keys page so I have no idea if it was defamatory etc, but I am sure this won’t be an isolated incident and will generate a lot of debate that will flow back into the Facebook’s team to ponder about…

  12. Gibbon says:

    Nice comment, Tintin. ;)

  13. John Keys fan says:

    I miss John Keys.

  14. Michael Oliver says:

    That photo of John Keys at a drum kit was the most ridiculous thing I’ve seen in my life.

    John Keys, I miss you. Come back… :(

  15. John Keys says:

    I am here… and will always be here for you. If you would like to help me out, please send cheques to the Salient office made out to cash. The address is:

    John Keys CO/- Salient
    Student Union Building
    PO Box 600 Wellington
    Victoria University of Wellington

    I will be there for you all… just look for me in your heart.

  16. Michael Oliver says:

    I have nothing to lend but the currency of my heart, John Keys.

  17. Geoffrey says:

    I analysed the Facebook pages of Rodney Hide and Richard Worth, the present and former MPs for National in Epsom. Worth has recently started to post frequent updates onto his page.

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