Content about Labour is dominating Twitter in the run-up to the general election, according to a new study from the University of Oxford’s Internet Institute.
The researchers, who have been tracking the changes in activity over time, looked at traffic on Twitter over the final week of May to identify trends around political engagement, ultimately cataloguing almost 2.5m tweets spread over a number of election-related hashtags.
They found that the number of posts using Labour-related hashtags dwarfed those featuring content about other parties, ultimately making up 62% of all tweets mentioning a specific party. This was up from 40% at the start of the month. Labour support spiked highest during the debate programmes that occurred during that week: the back-to-back Q&A with May and Corbyn on 28 May, the general election debate on 31 May that the Prime Minister declined to attend, and Question Time on 2 June featuring the two leaders.
But the amount of “high-frequency tweeting” also increased in the same period, with more than 100,000 tweets sent from accounts that posted more than 50 times a day on just one party-specific hashtag. Such rapid rates of posting on such a narrow stream of tweets indicates automation, the authors say, although it may simply be a case of a user manually attempting to flood the service with their comments.
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Note: This post was originally published on the Political Bots research blog on . It might have been updated since then in its original location. The post gives the views of the author(s), and not necessarily the position of the Oxford Internet Institute.