Social media analysis shows how Corbyn stepped up personal attacks on May
Labour more regularly used Twitter and Facebook to take the fight to the Tories than vice versa.
Jeremy Corbyn significantly stepped up personal attacks on Theresa May and his discussion of defence and security issues on social media as polling day drew near, a Press Association analysis has found.
The security policies and record of the main parties and their leaders have come under intense scrutiny in the wake of terror attacks in London and Manchester.
But while these issues were widely debated in the press and broadcast media, Labour more regularly used Twitter and Facebook to take the fight to the Tories than vice versa, according to the analysis.
Labour and Jeremy Corbyn both increased their share of posts on the topic of security, defence and policing (9%, up from 6%), while for the Conservatives and Theresa May this topic made up a smaller share (11%, down from 16%) of posts than on the previous week.
Leaders’ most popular posts
The issue of security also seemed to resonate with audiences: Mr Corbyn’s most popular post on Facebook, the platform on which he passed one million “likes” this week, reiterated his accusation that the Conservatives’ cuts had weakened national security.
“Theresa May, you cannot protect communities on the cheap and by disregarding the views of the police,” he wrote, two days after the London Bridge attack, in a post alongside a video attacking the Conservatives’ record that was shared more than 40,000 times.
Mrs May’s most popular Facebook post, by comparison, was a transcript of her statement to the press after chairing a meeting of Cobra on Sunday morning. It was shared just over 8,000 times.
We cannot and must not pretend that things can continue as they are. Things need to change, and they need to change in four important ways – as I set out in my statement outside Downing St.Posted by Theresa May on Sunday, June 4, 2017
A tweet posted on June 6 about Mrs May’s willingness to amend human rights laws to combat terrorism was her most popular tweet of the week with around 12,000 likes and nearly 8,000 retweets.
“I’m clear: if human rights laws get in the way of tackling extremism and terrorism, we will change those laws to keep British people safe,” she wrote, alongside a video of a stump speech on the same subject.
Mr Corbyn’s most popular tweet, with 58,000 likes and more than 23,000 retweets, took aim at Donald Trump, who had previously criticised London Mayor Sadiq Khan.
Sadiq Khan has spoken for London and our country in standing up to hate. That is how we stop terrorists winning, not by promoting division. https://t.co/qPtJBaPobI— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) June 5, 2017
The Conservative Party’s messages attacking Labour over security proved their most popular on both Twitter and Facebook.
The NHS and healthcare was the key topic for the Labour party, topping the party’s most popular messages for the period.
Issues around healthcare were mentioned in 16% of Labour’s posts on Twitter and Facebook over the week, compared to 3% of posts by the Conservatives.
Leadership is still the biggest issue for the Conservatives, featuring in 60% of posts on Twitter and Facebook – down on previous weeks, but still higher than Brexit, the next most-mentioned issue for the party, which featured in 49% of messages on the platforms.
Both topics are a far higher priority for the Conservatives than for Labour, which mentioned the main party leaders in 17% of posts and Brexit in 3% of posts.
Mrs May’s most-mentioned topics on social media were Brexit (66% of posts) and security (23%).
For the first time in this campaign, Mrs May did not directly mention Mr Corbyn once on social media across the week.
In comparison, Mr Corbyn’s were leadership (17%) and security (12%).