Policy Papers / Publications

Social Media and News Sources during the 2017 UK General Election

Platforms like Twitter and sources like Wikipedia are important parts of the information diet for many citizens. In this data memo, we analyse Twitter data on bot activity and junk news for a week in the final stages of campaigning of the 2017 UK General Election and also present data on Wikipedia page consultations about those parties and leaders. (1) Content about the Labour Party strongly dominated Twitter traffic in this period. (2) Social media users in the UK shared five links to professional news and information for every one link to junk news. (3) Wikipedia queries have gone from being mostly about the Conservative Party and Prime Minister Theresa May to being mostly about the Labour Party and the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. (4) In comparison to the first week of the campaign period, we find that users are sharing slightly better quality news content, that automated accounts are generating more traffic about the election, and that more of the automation uses Labour-related hashtags (though may not be from the Labour Party itself). (5) In comparison to trends in other countries, we find that UK users shared better quality information than that which many US users shared during the 2016 US election, but worse quality news and information than was shared during the French 2017 election.

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Monica Kaminska, John D. Gallacher, Bence Kollanyi, Taha Yasseri, and Philip N. Howard. “Social Media and News Sources during the 2017 UK General Election” Data Memo 2017.6. Oxford, UK: Project on Computational Propaganda. comprop.oii.ox.ac.uk.

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