The party is keen to stress that it hasn’t bought any likes from abroad. The Flemish Christian democrat Deputy Prime Minister in Belgium's Federal Government Kris Peeters reacted to Knack’s findings with joke. “It could of course be the case that CD&V is extremely popular in India”, Mr Peeters laughed.
He added that campaign on social media should be carried out correctly. “If these are fake likes, the party should do all it can to put this right”.
In its article Knack analysed the Facebook pages of the Flemish political parties. The only finding worthy of note was that of their 35,000 likes, the Flemish Christian democrats only have 19,000 from Belgium. A large portion of the rest come from India.
CD&V’s Director of Communication Tom Schiettecat told Knack that "We noticed that we were lagging behind on social media. Consequently we have given over more personnel and funding to it. We haven’t paid for click farms, but have launched campaigns with sponsored posts to specific target groups. At a certain moment were noticed that a particular campaign had been picked up abroad, which was not our intention”.
The two posts that were picked up by Facebook users abroad were about the views of the 1st candidate of the party’s list for this October’s municipal elections in Antwerp Kris Peeters about the Port of Antwerp and Antwerp as a diamond trading city.