Junk News & Information Sharing During the 2019 UK General Election

comprop.oii.ox.ac.uk
4 min read
fairly difficult
Today, an estimated 75% of the British public access information about politics and public life online, and 40% do so via social media. With this context in mind, we investigate information sharing patterns over social media in the lead-up to the 2019 UK General Elections, and ask: (1) What type of political news and
Junk News & Information Sharing During the 2019 UK General Election

Today, an estimated 75% of the British public access information about politics and public life online, and 40% do so via social media. With this context in mind, we investigate information sharing patterns over social media in the lead-up to the 2019 UK General Elections, and ask: (1) What type of political news and information were social media users sharing on Twitter ahead of the vote? (2) How much of it is extremist, sensationalist, or conspiratorial junk news? (3) How much public engagement did these sites get on Facebook in the weeks leading up to the vote? And (4) What are the most common narratives and themes relayed by junk news outlets?

To answer these research questions, we collected 1.76 million tweets related to the UK General Elections using the Twitter Streaming API between 13th and 19th November. These were collected from 284,265 unique users using a list of 40 election-related hashtags associated with the primary political parties in the UK, the 2016 EU referendum, and the 2019 General Election itself. From this sample, we extracted 308,493 tweets containing a URL link, which pointed to a total of 28,532 unique…
Cindy Ma
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