According to research by Westminster lobbyists Headland, one in four MPs (26%) have set up a profile on Threads, while 90% of UK MPs have their own Twitter/X handle. Despite the hype Meta’s Instagram linked Threads has gained 169 MPs.
Headland crunched the numbers and found that while there is only a marginal difference between which party had the most MPs on the new channel – with 39% (67) of the early adopters on the Conservative benches and 44% (77) Labour – Labour MPs have been the busiest. Only 12 Conservative MPs have been “active” (i.e., posted content more than once in the past week), versus 29 Labour MPs.
Headland’s Gregor Poynton tells Guido:
“It’s difficult to imagine how Westminster worked before tweeting, and while it seems as though X’s influence over the political news cycle is unlikely to change anytime soon, it is waning. The question for MPs will be whether it’s worth the time and energy to engage with both Threads and X.”
Despite Elon Musk’s exasperating at times tinkering with Twitter / X it will be hard for a rival social media platform to beat it because of the strong network effect – with 90% of politicians and 100% of political media on Twitter a rival will have to have a compelling advantage to cause a mass migration. Threads so far looks bare.
New year, new Guido. As part of the website revamp, Guido’s also taken this opportunity to get his social media game in order, adding Linkedin to the list of social media platforms on which you can keep up with us. So all you suits can follow Guido at work without your bosses realising…
Stay informed and don’t miss a thing via your platform of choice:
Guido remains undecided about joining TikTok…
Despite a spirited effort from Tory digital operation, unleashing fresh memes like BorisWave and provoking hatesharing of their quirky Twitter content, the Labour Party has stormed ahead on the social media sites native to the party’s core demographic.
Labour are busy gloating about their impressive retweet and video view counts. They boast:
Follower growth on Twitter and Facebook for the Labour Party, boosted by celebrities, has been impressive:
In 2011 the “Yes to the Alternative Vote” campaign were surprised to discover that their social media sentiment analysis, which gave them a 2:1 lead, was wrong. Yet still this garbage persists, for example analysis designed & built by idiots at Mediaworks, using AI apparently, Caroline Lucas has the most positive sentiment on social media. So what?
Ultimately, as David Cameron reminded us all in 2015, and Vote Leave proved again in 2016, Britain and Twitter are not the same thing…
Pakistan’s ruling party discovered the purrils of social media over the weekend after an unfur-tunate incident – politicians from Imran Khan’s party were left unamew-sed after the party’s official Facebook feed livestreamed a press conference. With a cat filter on:
The party evidently didn’t see the funny side and issued a humourless clarification for their cat-astrophic error. To stop Westminster watchers feline left out, Guido has given the Tory leadership contenders a similar makeover for your purr-usal:
Purr-haps the only surprise is that Rory Stewart hasn’t done it himself already…
The Women’s Equality Party has a social media campaign today bombarding the Health Secretary Matt Hancock with pictures of errrm, shrinking violets. WEP are furious with the Health Secretary for saying falling rates of cervical smear check-ups are due to women being embarrassed. WEP claim it is down to cuts to sexual health services, despite studies siding with Hancock. WEP are also spamming his Matt Hancock app…
Guido is instinctively uncomfortable with censorship, even of liars. In the marketplace of ideas, good ideas should best bad ideas in free debate. That is the theory. So the exiling of Alex Jones from Facebook, Apple’s iTunes, YouTube, Vimeo, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Flickr, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn and MailChimp seems to be shutting down open debate. Twitter have now put Alex Jones in a half-way house where he is unable to tweet. That cuts off Alex Jones from most of his audience.
He’s not completely exiled from public discourse, the InfoWars apps are available to download, his website is running. His freedom of speech has not been taken away, Big Tech has just exiled him from their huge social media audiences. They are it seems to Guido making an example of him because he is the highest profile “fake news” outlet associated with Trump. The tech titans are of course completely within their rights to purge InfoWars from their platforms.
Jones says “Mass censorship of conservatives and libertarians is exploding. You’ve already seen this with the demonetization and ultimate purge of Infowars and other alternative media outlets by mega-corporations working in tangent to stifle competition.” He is right in that it really does seem that it is right-of-centre voices that are being purged disproportionately, the left argues that is because the right are disproportionately “haters”. The alt-right does revel in being provocatively confrontational. Milo being kicked off Twitter was an early sign of this reaction.
If the social media platforms are going to start discriminating about what content they will host and distribute they will become like the US TV networks, seen as partisan and thus subject to partisan heckling. The left are hard-wired to “no platform” people, banning voices they don’t like, the right are not so temperamentally inclined. This means there is a continuous lobbying from the left to silence people they don’t like; the ceaseless effort to get advertiser boycotts of the popular press, to get Nigel Farage off LBC, Owen Jones’ shrill screeching about Andrew Neil (nothing to do with his humiliation at Brillo’s hands). Does all this matter much to voters? Only at the margins, those who want Alex Jones will still be able to get Alex Jones. It increases the self-filtering effect on public discourse. As our information sources become ever more filtered we live in our own increasingly polarised social media echo chambers, that is not good for democracy.