'Cost of Tories' starts trending as opponents resume online campaigning

Joe Vesey-Byrne
Thursday 25 May 2017 11:15
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Picture:(Toby Melville - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Official national campaigning it to resume on Friday, however, anti-Tory activists appeared to launch a targeted campaign online.

On Thursday, Ukip launched its manifesto, while constituency and branch Labour parties were given permission to leaflet and organise their campaigns once again.

The words 'Cost of Tories' were used in enough tweets (over 2,500) on Thursday morning to start to 'trend' on UK Twitter.

Some were aiming at humour, others solemnity.

After the term was trending, a BBC news story about the 'cost of Tories free breakfasts' began to mix in with the campaign.

The campaign follows a similar pattern by NHS campaigners who used the hashtag #publicduty in April.

Twitter's echo chamber, and Facebook's 'dark adverts'

One study of social media in March found that 'left' and 'liberal' politics appears to be the dominant force on Twitter. Other studies, such as this survey by YouGov, have shown that newsfeeds on Facebook lack right wing sources. In contrast to this, Facebook pages for right wing and conservative groups have the highest amount of activity and page 'likes'.

Moreover, targeted advertising was used to great effect in the 2015 election by the Conservative Party, who (according to the Electoral Commission) spent more than £2 million on Facebook advertising.

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Likes and follows

Among mainstream political parties, the left is ahead of the right on Twitter followers, and the inverse is true of Facebook.

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A ‘Like’ and a ‘Follower’ do not guarantee support, and often simply imply you’re willing to see their posts on your timeline. It does not show how many people on Facebook have ‘hidden’ posts from a party on their newsfeed, or how many Twitter users have ‘muted’ the parties tweets.

However, including the group Britain First, shows how the popularity of Westminster parties is relative.

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So trending topics such as 'cost of tories' can be expected, given the left's influence on Twitter.

More: The 'social media bubble' is dividing us, but not in the way you expect

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