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Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke November 18, 2022

Social media followings of Katie Hobbs, Kari Lake, not evidence of election fraud

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  • According to unofficial election results, Katie Hobbs beat Kari Lake to become Arizona’s next governor and Hobbs smaller Instagram follower count is not proof the election was illegitimate. 

Arizona Secretary State Katie Hobbs narrowly prevailed in her bid to become the state’s governor, according to unofficial election results, with 50.3% of the vote. 

But a recent Instagram post suggests the election is illegitimate, and points to the number of Instagram followers Hobbs and her Republican opponent Kari Lake have. 

"Katie Hobbs had ~2.8 percent of Kari Lake’s Instagram following… Katie Hobbs is AZ’s secretary of state and oversees elections… but we’re not allowed to question anything?" the video post says. 

"How are we supposed to believe this!?" reads text above an image in the post of an NBC News broadcast projecting Hobbs as the winner. "Just look at their socials!!!"

This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)

It’s true that Hobbs has a fraction of Lake’s social media following, though when we compared their profiles Nov. 17, it was more like 3%. Lake has about 496,000 followers; Hobbs has about 15,000

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But as we noted in a fact-check of a similar claim, casting doubt on Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman’s U.S. Senate win over Republican candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz, a large social media following doesn’t ensure an election win. 

Beto O’Rourke, the Democratic candidate for Texas governor who has about 1.1 million Instagram followers, failed to unseat Gov. Greg Abbott, who has about 162,000.

Stacey Abrams, the Democratic candidate for Georgia governor, has about 2.1 million followers, while Gov. Brian Kemp, who won re-election, has fewer than 48,000

Syracuse University professor Jennifer Stromer-Galley, who studies political social media messaging, told NPR in August that although social media helps amplify a candidate's message, it doesn’t automatically translate to election wins. They’re "talking primarily to supporters," Stromer-Galley said, but that could include people out of state who won’t vote in that candidate’s election. 

There is no evidence of widespread fraud in the Arizona gubernatorial election, least of all because Hobbs has fewer Instagram followers than Lake. 

We rate that claim Pants on Fire!


Our Sources

Instagram post, Nov. 16, 2022

PolitiFact, Large social media followings don’t ensure election wins, Nov. 10, 2022

Mehmet Oz Instagram account, visited Nov. 10, 2022

John Fetterman Instagram account, visited Nov. 10, 2022

Beto O’Rourke Instagram account, visited Nov. 10, 2022

Greg Abbott Instagram account, visited Nov. 10, 2022

Brian Kemp Instagram account, visited Nov. 10, 2022

Stacey Abrams Instagram account, visited Nov. 10, 2022

NPR, For politicians, does online popularity translate into votes?, Aug. 28, 2022

Katie Hobbs Instagram account, visited Nov. 17, 2022

Kari Lake Instagram account, visited Nov. 17, 2022

Arizona secretary of state, 2020 general election unofficial results, visited Nov. 17, 2022

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Social media followings of Katie Hobbs, Kari Lake, not evidence of election fraud

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