The Labour party is winning the social media battle ahead of election day, research by Oxford’s Internet Institute has this week shown.
The study found that “hashtags such as #VoteLabour and #JezzWeCan are outperforming the likes of #VoteTory and #StrongAndStable”.
However, the study also pointed out that ‘fake news’ is believed to account for around 13% of social media traffic.
The University’s Internet Institute looked at over 1.3 million tweets posted between the 1 and 7 of May which used hashtags attached to the country’s main political parties as well as the election itself.
Specifically, the study found that Labour’s tweets made up 39.7 per cent of party-specific tweets, as opposed to 26 per cent for the Conservative Party, 9.6 per cent for UKIP and 5.7 per cent for the Liberal Democrats.
Twitter mentions for Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP, which is looking to replicate its 2-15 electoral success this week, made up 19 per cent of party-specific tweets.
The study also established that over 12 per cent of political tweets are posted by bots (automated accounts). 21,000 of these tweets were for Labour, compared to only 13,400 for the Tories.
Hannah Taylor, co-Chair of Oxford University Labour Club told Cherwell: “Labour’s dominance of social media is unsurprising given our huge popularity with young people. Whilst it is hard to tell from these studies whether the content is positive, I am optimistic that this shows how Corbyn has sparked conversation online by offering a real, positive alternative.”
Meanwhile, William Rees-Mogg, Oxford University Conservative Association President, was more skeptical of the findings, telling Cherwell: “Twitter is more of an echo chamber for the views of certain politically engaged people than it is representative of the views of the general public, as evidenced by the over-representation of the SNP. We should make predictions on the basis of data gathered on the doorstep, not hot air and hashtags.”
The Oxford Internet Institute (OII) have been contacted for comment.