As the election fever heats up in St.Kitts-Nevis so too has the engagement of non-traditional tactics or what some have labelled as SCL/Cambridge Analytica styled social media mind-bending techniques. The fingers have been consistently pointing at the Opposition Labour Party for adopting these non-traditional and, what most would call, deceptive methods of campaigning.
The Dr. Denzil Douglas-led Opposition party infamously engaged SCL in 2004 right up until 2015. Before the age of Facebook, the SCL pursued a clandestine operation to set up then Opposition leader Lindsay Grant in 2004. As recently as the 2015 election, media reports indicated that associates of the SCL/Cambridge Analytica group were entertaining overtures from Israeli hackers for the handing over of hacked medical records of Dr. Timothy Harris.
In 2020, elements of SCL/Cambridge Analytica remain involved in the Douglas-led Labour Party campaign and have engaged in an extensive multi-million dollar social media and fake news campaign.
The most recent exposure of the Opposition’s “non-traditional” or SCL/Cambridge Anlaytica styled social media mind-bending is the use of online software to artificially inflate “VIEWER” counts on their LIVE streams. The tactic was exposed on Thursday evening (February 20th, 2020) when both the Opposition and the Team UNITY Government had duelling online streaming events.
Team UNITY held its first in a series of town halls and the Labour Party held another in its ongoing series of Public Meetings.
Social Media observers over the last few weeks expressed a great level of surprise when the Opposition Labour Party’s LIVE streams were seemingly attracting over 400 viewers on their streams . What made this suspicious is that less than 15% of these viewers were actually engaged or participating in the live chats.
Last night (Thursday evening), Team Unity streamed its town hall, and views for that town hall meeting surpassed the 600 mark compared to the Opposition’s view count of just over 400.
Suspicions of the Opposition Labour Party’s mind-bending antics were soon confirmed when, in less than 5 minutes, the SKNLP LIVE stream shot up to almost 700. This unconvincingly suggests that, in less than 5 minutes, 300 viewers suddenly logged in to view Labour’s event. However, Labour’s streams had never exceeded 500 for any of its public meetings thus far . It is suspected that the Opposition has adapted a number of these social media manipulation tactics to influence voter sentiment. Online software and services offer “VIEWER” for sale where streams’ viewer counts can be inflated to whatever amount that is paid for.
A popular St.Kitts-Nevis political social media site had this to say about the matter: “So something strange happened last night. For the last few weeks, we have been seeing Labour stream its public meetings LIVE, and every week they make it a point to boast how many VIEWERS their streams attract. Anyone who follows Facebook Live in St.Kitts-Nevis, in particular, know how difficult it is to get 400 consistent viewers on any live event, much less every week. So tonight, in going back and forth between LABOUR Public Meeting and UNITY Townhall, I noticed Labour once again had 400-plus viewers. Then we noticed that The UNITY Townhall was clocking over 600 viewers. Then, within minutes, the LABOUR stream shot up to almost 700 viewers. So, in the space of 5 mins, 300 people suddenly logged on to LABOUR’s stream. Mind you, for the last 3 weeks they have never passed 450 and have never fallen below 400. But almost by the snap of a finger and within minutes after Unity hits 600-plus viewers, Labour’s public meeting shoots up to 700 views. Can anyone explain what’s going on here?”
Inside sources from Team UNITY did not comment except to say, “We had our suspicions, and our suspicions were proven correct. We conducted our own experiment and that exposed what we strongly felt all along as far as the Opposition’s use of social media manipulation technology.”