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Northern Ireland councils defend £200k bill for social media use

By Rebecca Black

Councils across Northern Ireland have spent more than £200,000 on social media since 2010, it has emerged.

Despite spending nearly £8,000, Antrim Borough Council has just 60 Twitter followers.

Belfast City Council is a social media giant with more then 25,000 followers on Twitter and 16,000 on Facebook.

But it is also a spending giant – £109,000 has been spent on staffing and maintaining the sites.

A series of Freedom of Information requests by the Daily Mail revealed that councils across the UK spent £3.22m on social media since 2010 – and Belfast is one of the biggest spenders.

Newcastle Council spent the most in the UK with an £147,480 investment, while Belfast is one of just seven others spending more than £100,000 on social media.

Lord Mayor Mairtin O Muilleoir is currently one of the most active politicians in Northern Ireland on Twitter with 10,890 followers. He posts frequent updates on his daily events.

A spokesman for Belfast City Council said: "As technology constantly evolves people expect to be able to get information where and when they want it, and they expect organisations to respond accordingly."

Other big-spending councils in Northern Ireland include Craigavon and Newry & Mourne.

Craigavon Borough Council spent £28,845 on social media, although it has just over 1,000 followers on Twitter, and just over 2,600 'likes' on Facebook.

While Newry & Mourne District Council has 1,128 Twitter followers and 2,544 'likes' on Facebook, for a spend of around £14,000.

Belfast Telegraph

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