So. Er. HAPPY APRIL FOOLS UGAIZ! Sorry for the late post. We really wanted the dust to settle first before we wrote this. On April 1st 2018, we launched two articles at the same time on the same date, with almost identical titles.
The idea here for both writers was to compile ‘facts’ based on third-party analysis, except that each article would ignore facts from the other side.
For example, the BN article quotes an NST study saying Chinese are leaving Opposition, while the Harapan article quotes a Malaysian Insight study saying that Malays are coming over to the Opposition. Both of these articles would look legit to supporters of their individual causes.
CILISOS prides itself as an independent publisher, free of political influence, except perhaps our own personal biases, which we actively try to prevent. Trust us, gaiz, if we really wanted to, we could just write REALLY imbalanced politics, and not only would people not notice, it would probably get us more pageviews (*cough Malaysia Chronicle Cough*).
And our experiment worked almost too well. Typical CILISOS articles get between 5-15k pageviews over 3 days, but these two got a combined 75k views in less than 24 hours! Along with those figures, some other stuff happened that was pretty weird.
One of those was really quite conspiracy.
1. Facebook refused to boost our Pakatan Harapan version
So with every CILISOS article, we usually spend RM50 to boost the article on Facebook to reach a broader audience of people beyond our user-base. These two articles were set to spend their entire RM50 over just 24 hours.
Keep in mind that both articles are the same in EVERY way, except for the words BN and Harapan. You could even argue that the images are rather similar. However, on both CILISOS and on our BM bros at SOSCILI, the BN articles got approved immediately, while our Harapan articles were “Under Review“, and missed the 24 hour window entirely (we’re still not sure if we got charged).
We have reached out to Facebook to comment on this, but have yet to receive a reply.
2. Doesn’t really matter la, since the Harapan one got double the reads of the BN one.
So yea, despite not being boosted, everyone was rooting for the underdog on this one. The Harapan article got more views (more than 50k vs 25k), and more shares as well (5.1k to 1.6k). However, there’s another interesting stat which is that people spent 20% more time reading the BN version , even though it was a SHORTER article by about 300 words! The conclusion here would be that people skimmed the Pakatan article.
3. People who read the BN article didn’t get the joke as much
At least on our Facebook, about 60% of the comments on the Pakatan article seemed to know that it was an April Fools joke. On the BN side however, we got alot more of these…
Actually, we kinda expected la 🙂 Since two months ago, we’ve been getting A LOT of these. Part of the reason behind this April Fools gag was ironically to demonstrate our neutrality 🙁
4. 100% of Malaysia’s pirating hat-wearing, bespectacled bloggers read only one of the articles
This was really an unexpected bonus. We published our article around 10pm on 31st March, and put it on Facebook after midnight. But just a few hours later, RPK read the Harapan one, labeled us a pro-opposition blog, and challenged us to an RM100,000 bet on who would win GE14.
Other media picked it up too, like Malaysian Digest who labeled us “portal tabloid pro-Pakatan Harapan“. 🙁
Well at first, we tried to recruit some 50sen donations, and after that we realised that we could discuss offsetting the bet from the royalties RPK should be paying us for the articles he’s ‘excerpted’ from us over the years.
BUUUT we didn’t collect that many 50sen before we decided we COULDN’T take the bet because
- We actually covered both sides of the argument, so technically we’d be betting against ourselves
- As a few people have pointed out, Muslim mana boleh bet bro? Nanti kena tangkap
To be honest, not all of our April Fool’s gags work. #fakenews
So far each year, our April Fool’s gags have been featured in other media. Last year in The Star, and the year before that in SAYS.com. Sadly, this year under threat of the new Fake News Act, perhaps most brands decided not to take the plunge, as we can’t find anyone else online that did an April Fool’s gag (let us know in the comments?)
In fact, this year we had two gags. Sadly, very few people saw the first one. We actually teamed up with PaulTan.org, GRIMFILM and RojakDaily. Basically, Jared shot a video entitled “How to Be Internet Famous”.
We actually paid for Indian clickfarms USD1k to get the video to 500,000 views, to highlight how easy it was (pretty easy) to get traffic to videos or content (Website clicks are even cheaper), but unfortunately, no one really cared (except maybe Jared’s fans). For any advertisers reading this tho, do note that metrics aren’t the be all, end all…
And as Jared said, if you wanna be famous, just talk sh*t about gomen can adi -_-“.