THE STORIES BEHIND THE HEADLINES

Abu Dhabi

London

New York

Wed, 22 Jan 2020 21:04 GMT

UK Elections – A Facebook Conversation

Politics

Desiree Joule-Adam

Thu, 12 Dec 2019 20:46 GMT

If Facebook is anything to go by, then the jury is still out on who the British public might vote for in the election.

Whilst some people made their way to polling stations across the UK this morning (based on UK government criteria, 46 million are eligible), others have taken to social media to voice their thoughts, vent their frustrations and express their opinions about the country’s most crucial General Election yet.

In a desperate appeal to the online community for help in making a decision, a North London Facebook user posted, “my heart is telling me Lib Dem, my mind is telling me Conservative, my principals are telling me Labour but I want none of their leaders as my Prime Minister!"

“I’ve voted tactically to oust my current local party”, another user commented, “I really wanted someone else but this was my best option. I like the MP I voted for despite her boss.”

“I chose REMAIN in the 2016 referendum so I guess that means I should vote Lib Dem. Does anyone know who the Lib Dem candidate in my constituency is?!”, quipped another.

Others were more diplomatic in reminding the public that there’s far more at stake in this election than just Brexit. Austerity measures, tax increases, and funding cuts to public services, healthcare and education, are a worrying concern, as well as discussions around tackling climate change, knife crime and soaring racial tension.

With still so much perplexity and confusion, this throws into question the value on advertising spent for campaigns by each party.

In a report by the BBC, political parties unleashed tidal waves of ads on the tech giant’s online pages in the run-up to the UK election.

Unlike Twitter, whose CEO Jack Dorsey made the decision at the end of October this year, to ban political advertising, Facebook made it clear in a statement that it had no plans to do the same. Rebecca Stimson, Facebook’s head of UK public police, told reporters on a call that Mark Zuckerberg had considered whether to ban political ads, but felt it was imperative for political parties to communicate with their constituents. The use of political ads online were an important way to get their messages out.

A Facebook Ad Library report revealed the amount of money used on advertising by the main parties between November 24th and November 30th with Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party’s main account spending £282,831, the Liberal Democrats spent £206,442 and the Conservatives with the least amount of £54,443, spent through their account and that of Boris Johnson’s.

Still, for all the campaigning and televised debates, the country at large, including the politicians is still uncertain about the outcome of the results, in what might be the toughest election in Britain’s history.


Europe