Craig Kelly’s Facebook Rating Tanked After An Anti-Vaxxer Campaign Backfired

Craig Kelly’s Facebook Rating Tanked After An Anti-Vaxxer Campaign Backfired
Getty Images/Facebook

It all started yesterday when one of the founders of Australian anti-vaxxer, conspiracy group decided to corral the troops to improve the Facebook rating scores of Craig Kelly.

Gizmodo has chosen not to name the founder or their group to avoid amplifying harmful and false messages.

Kelly is an Australian backbencher who uses his enormous Facebook audience to promote misinformation about climate change and, now, COVID.

As such, anti-vaxxer groups have been particularly fond of Kelly.

“Craig Kelly has been fighting for our freedoms, sharing many truths which the the (sic) mainstream media are on an absolutely witch hunt right now to discredit as well as him personally, so let’s bump those reviews back up!” they sent to their 1,600 online community members on Wednesday afternoon.

In the hour after, Kelly’s Facebook page was flooded with reviews thanking the MP for his advocacy of disproven COVID-19 treatments and skepticism towards masks and vaccines.

Another group called Hughes Deserves Better — named for Kelly’s electorate, the Division of Hughes — noticed these reviews and decided to retaliate with their own negative reviews.

The ABC’s Casey Briggs tracked Kelly’s Facebook rating as the battle proceeded.

It soon became clear that Kelly’s fans were outnumbered as Kelly’s already low rating continued to sink.

That’s when things started to get weird.

Not long after that, people noticed that Kelly’s rating dropped into the negatives — something that shouldn’t be possible, given that only positive scores can be given.

One user even snapped Kelly’s rating out at an incredible -1343/5.

Strangely, despite the huge numbers of reviews coming in, the total number of reviews were dropping.

Gizmodo asked Facebook about how this counterintuitive phenomenon could occur.

A spokesperson pointed Gizmodo to the help resource on Facebook Page ratings.

“The review number would fluctuate depending on the type of review (positive/negative) that’s being left on any Page as well as the visibility of it. Only recommendations that are shared publicly are included in a Page’s overall rating. Page admins can’t delete reviews, but they can turn off/ on recommendations or report a recommendation if it violates Community Standards,” the page reads.

This doesn’t quite make sense: why would more reviews lead to a drop in number of total reviews?

The only way that this would be possible if that the influx of reviews meant that Facebook moderators looked more closely at existing reviews and removed them for violating the rules — but even that wouldn’t explain the negative score.

Gizmodo has sent further questions to Facebook.

In the mean time, it’s worth noting that Kelly’s Facebook Page rating currently sits is 0 out of 5, based on 0 reviews.