The 2024 Summer Olympics will be in either Los Angeles or Paris. As of 2:45 pm EST on Tuesday, LA 2024 on Facebook has 1,040,855 likes, while Paris 2024 on Facebook has only 235,927.

So what does this mean exactly? Not much really, because they are just Facebook likes. However, the LA 2024 committee is really proud of its 1+ million likes.

“LA 2024 today became the first ever Olympic and Paralympic bid to attract more than a million fans on social media platform Facebook, underlining its pledge to re-connect the Olympic and Paralympic Movements with global youth audiences in 2024 and beyond,” and LA 2024 Press Release stated on Monday.

The only problem is that a large majority of the page’s newest likes are coming from users in countries that would have no rational reason to like the page, such as Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Indonesia, Egypt, India, and Afghanistan.

“The fan growth evolution for the LA2024 Facebook page does seem suspicious,” Michaela Branova, whose Prague, Czech Republic-based firm, Socialbakers, prepared a report for the AP, said. “Countries such as Bangladesh and Pakistan suddenly spike from almost zero to tens of thousands of fans within a few days in February.”

Shortly after the AP published its story, LA 2024 campaign spokesman Jeff Millman emailed the Associated Press to state that on February 3rd, the campaign began to launch ads on Facebook that were aimed at countries around the world except for France and the United States. Millman declined to say how much LA 2024 has spent on Facebook ads.

The report for the AP done by Socialbakers stated towards the end of 2016, LA 2024 had around 209,000 likes and nearly all of them were from users in the United States. Meanwhile, Paris 2024 had around 62,000 likes, 80% of which were from France.

While the LA 2024 Facebook page is now drawing some heat for likes from odd countries around the world, Paris 2024 has a similar issue. According to Socialbakers, some of the likes Paris has received since the end of 2016 to triple its total have come from former French colonies, like Algeria and Tunisia. However, it’s important to note four out of five likes since 2016 are from France.

Still, the LA issue is much worse.

“In Bangladesh alone, the number of supporters of the U.S. Olympic bid rose from a few dozen to 113,335 in a month-and-a-half. In Pakistan, the number of supporters leapt from 55 to 99,336 over the same period.

Socialbakers’ report said that more than 700,000 of the 1 million accounts that liked LA 2024’s Facebook page had done so within the past six weeks. The surge helped LA blow past Paris (about 235,000 likes) and hit the million mark at an opportune moment. An Olympics conference started Tuesday in Denmark, the first of three events between now and September, when the International Olympic Committee is scheduled to pick one city over the other.”

What a coincidence! LA 2024 accomplished a major social media strategic goal at the same time as an Olympic conference!

Socialbakers told the AP it hasn’t worked for either of the 2024 bids, and that all of the information is pretty easy to access.

“It’s all publicly available, taken directly from the Facebook API,” said spokeswoman Claire Wilson, referring to Facebook’s data interface.

“It’s consistent with what you’d expect to see from paid endorsements,” Daniel Mochon, a social media marketing professor at Tulane University’s A. B. Freeman School of Business, told the AP. “They tend to come from developing countries … You’re going to see sudden spikes that are not necessarily tied to anything external.”

Paris 2024 officials haven’t commented on the stor,y while LA 2024 officials haven’t responded to the simple fact that most of their new likes aren’t from the United States, while most of Paris 2024’s new likes are from France.

The host of the 2024 Summer Olympic games will be voted on and announced on September 13th, 2017 at the 130th International Olympic Committee Session in Lima, Peru. It is possible the 2028 Summer Olympic venue will be announced then as well, and could go to whoever loses the 2024 vote. Typically, the IOC only hands out hosting rights seven years in advance, but this year it may make an exception, much like FIFA did when awarding the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar a few years back. How did that work out?

Budapest, Rome, and Hamburg had previously been in the running for the 2024 Olympic Games, but withdrew their bids. No official bids have been submitted yet for the 2028 Olympics.

[Associated Press]

About David Lauterbach

David is a writer for The Comeback. He enjoyed two Men's Basketball Final Four trips for Syracuse before graduating in 2016. If The Office or Game of Thrones is on TV, David will be watching.