RTÉ asks Facebook to investigate after posts get 'unusual' international attention

Rté Asks Facebook To Investigate After Posts Get 'Unusual' International Attention
RTÉ said they were aware of the mysterious Facebook activity. Photo: PA
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Ken Foxe

RTÉ has said it has asked Facebook to investigate suspicious activity around one of its social media accounts saying they had not paid to boost certain posts that have attracted mysterious international attention.

The RTÉ Archives page, which posts TV and radio packages from the broadcaster’s extensive vaults, has frequently been getting more than 1,000 likes for certain historic items it has posted.


However, on further analysis, many of the accounts appear to have no obvious link to Ireland with large volumes of traffic coming from various countries in Africa, South America and Asia.

One recent post on the archival Facebook page about the ‘Queen of Moore Street’ in Dublin got more than 1,400 likes with most of the accounts located outside Ireland.

However, another post by the RTÉ Archives page just the previous day on investment in Garda stations did not generate a single like, share or comment.

A post about Irish monasteries generated more than 600 likes earlier this month while another on the Belfast Punk Scene was given the thumbs up by over 770 different accounts.


While some of the traffic on the posts is legitimate, much of it is more difficult to explain with likes from Liberia, Benin and Malawi.

Content around the Irish language has done particularly well in recent weeks.

One post about telling the difference between Irish speakers over how they would pronounce ‘ag’ and ‘an’ generated more than 1,200 likes.

Another report on the declining number of Irish speakers over the past two hundred years attracted thumbs up from more than 1,700 accounts.


In one case, a post attracted more than 2,000 likes, though that at least seemed more explicable and related to a 25-year anniversary of the legendary folk band The Dubliners.

Another featuring the Pogues and the Dubliners performing ‘the Irish Rover’ was liked by more than 5,600 people but much of that activity was organic and it was posted only a couple of months after Shane MacGowan had died.

RTÉ said they were aware of the mysterious activity but that they had not spent any money to boost any of the posts they made on the Facebook Archives Page.

A spokesman said: “On 14th September 2023 RTÉ noticed unusual activity on the RTÉ Archives Facebook account.

“[We] immediately contacted the Meta support team who examined the query and passed it on to Meta's 'Inauthentic User Behaviour Department' on 18th September 2023. That team continues to monitor this on an ongoing basis.”

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