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Is Obama buying Facebook fans?

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President Barack Obama has amassed 30 million fans on Facebook, but it appears to be a record broken by questionable means. According to data from insidefacebook.com, on Oct. 8 and 9, the president gained more than 1.2 million new likes on Facebook.

According to BuzzFeed, it was 10 times the president's normal growth on Facebook. The likelihood of the gains happening naturally is slim, especially following the president's weak performance last week during the debate and Mitt Romney's surge in the polls.

Random and inexplicable surges in likes or followers is nothing new on social media or even in this election. This past summer, Romney gained thousands of new Twitter followers in a matter of hours. Some accused the campaign of buying fans, which it repeatedly denied. The most likely explanation, according to 140elect.com's Zach Green, was that someone was trying to buy the fans to make Romney look bad or desperate.

It appeared late this week that the same trickery could be in play on Obama's Facebook. Just like on Twitter, it is possible to buy fans on Facebook. But it seems doubtful the president would do that. After all, no matter how rough a week the president had, he is still winning on Facebook; the likelihood of Romney gaining 22 million fans in the next few weeks and catching up to the president is as about as realistic as a million real, live people deciding they like the president in the last day.

Photo via Barack Obama/Facebook