SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A local lawmaker is warning her Facebook followers the results of a Facebook poll she posted are a fraud after hundreds of votes were cast by profiles of people that don’t exist.
Sacramento County Supervisor Sue Frost’s Facebook survey turned into a sham. The poll, about taxes for county roads, is loaded with votes by Facebook profiles from distant lands. Frost updated her page by publishing the profiles with big red letters reading “FAKE.”
“These individuals are mostly Asian, there are many different, other languages,” Frost said.
Frost said a surge of 1,500 votes from far away were all posted at once.
“It’s a little bit of an eye-opener,” Frost said.
Frost believes the phony profiles were paid for by someone seeking to influence her survey.
“I don’t have any idea who it could be, if it was someone local and just went online and, I guess you can go online and search for these services,” Frost said.
The type of fraud on Frost’s Facebook page is a problem facing all of politics as election season begins.
Mindy Romero is the director of USC’s “The California Civic Engagement Project.” She says dispersing misinformation on social media has become easy, cheap and powerful.
“You know these things happen one poll at a time, one Facebook post at a time,” Romero said. “So it means that we have to be skeptical, we have to do the work, we have to look for third and fourth trusted sources to back it up.”
This new age of politics, where seeing is not believing, even on a Sacramento County Supervisor’s poll on repairing local roads.
“We will definitely be watching closely,” Frost said.