Social media and the Corbyn breakthrough

Shephard, Mark Peter (2017) Social media and the Corbyn breakthrough. In: UK Election Analysis 2017. Centre for the Study of Journalism, Culture and Community (CSJCC), Bournemouth. ISBN 9781910042144

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Abstract

The days when we all interacted with identical information from limited media outlets has largely gone thanks to the growth of media and in particular social media channels. However, a more Orwellian interpretation is that social media algorithms actually restrict choice as our preferences become increasing determined by previous behaviour patterns. This is the difficulty facing political parties and candidates. Even if you can buy access to individuals and target messages (for example, free university fees targeting younger voters), you may be preaching to the converted and if not it is impossible to determine who paid attention, if they were impacted and for how long. There is also the question of regulation. Current laws are pretty laissez faire and parties are reluctant to reveal their online tactics leading to accusations of the proliferation of ‘dark ads’: targeted by constituency and consumer and online activity using algorithms.