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June 12, 2017updated 07 Nov 2023 5:58am

General election: Only five out of top 100 most-shared stories on social media were pro-Tory

By Freddy Mayhew

Final figures for the most-shared stories on social media during the general election campaign show that anti-Tory articles dominated.

Although satirical stories feature, there are no fake news stories in the most-shared list – suggesting this was not a factor in the election.

The findings suggest that social media (mainly Facebook) acted as a counterbalance to printed newspapers.

Market-leading dailies The Sun, Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph were all staunchly pro Conservative throughout the campaign (as was the Daily Express).

Press Gazette searched the Buzzsumo database using the words “general election” for the top 100 most-shared stories from 18 April to 8 June.

According to our judgement, 45 were anti-Tory/pro-Labour, 46 were neutral (including all poll results stories) and five were pro-Tory. The remaining four were judged to be not relevant.

Left-leaning titles The Independent, Mirror, Guardian and HuffPo published 52 of the top 100 most shared articles.

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Left-wing websites offering an alternative slant on the news – The Canary, Skwakbox and The London Economic – have six articles in the top 100 most-shared list.

The Canary claimed more viral stories in the top 100 than the Daily Mail, Telegraph and Express. It featured four times, while they appeared just once each.

The Canary’s most-shared article on the general election was headlined: “NHS workers have spoken. The general election is our only chance of saving the health service [TWEETS].” It had a total of 63,500 shares.

There are no pro-Conservative stories in the top 20 most-shared list, according to Buzzsumo’s data.

The figures relate to the most shared stories across five social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Pinterest.

The most-shared story of the election campaign remains that of populist alternative news website The London Economic, headlined: “This Facebook comment about Jeremy Corbyn is going viral.”

It repeats a Facebook comment by Chris Renwick which pours scorn on the portrayal of Jeremy Corbyn by “the media arm of the establishment” and had a total of 142,600 shares.

The Independent appears 21 times within the top 100 – the most of any news organisation – the Guardian 17 times and the BBC 14 times. The Standard, Express, Telegraph and Daily Mail appear just once each.

The Sun does not feature at all in the top-100 list and The Times features once (at 100).

Satirical news stories appear four times in the top 100, of which two place in the top 10 with nearly 100,000 combined shares.

Top 20 most shared articles relating to “general election” on social media spanning 18 April to 8 June (source: Buzzsumo):

# Headline Publication Date Facebook shares Twitter shares Total shares on social media
1 This Facebook comment about Jeremy Corbyn is going viral May 31, 2017 136,800 5,600 142,600
2 Green Party pulls out of crucial general election seat to help Labour beat Tories Apr 25, 2017 75,600 802 76,400
3 Stop the Tories – Infogram, charts & infographics Apr 18, 2017 68,900 413 69,300
4 If ever there was a time to vote Labour, it is now Apr 25, 2017 63,500 4,500 68,200
5 Labour will scrap university tuition fees if they win general election May 10, 2017 53,600 12,800 66,500
6 NHS workers have spoken. The general election is our only chance of saving the health service [TWEETS] Apr 24, 2017 61,900 1,600 63,500
7 EU leader: UK would be welcomed back if voters overturn Brexit Apr 20, 2017 52,100 6,800 59,400
8 Can’t be bothered to vote? If you’re young, you simply can’t afford not to Apr 30, 2017 52,000 3,700 55,800
9 UK hasn’t done enough to tackle terrorism, says woman whose job it was to tackle terrorism Jun 5, 2017 48,800 1,800 50,700
10 Diane Abbott to replace Rachel Riley on Countdown Jun 6, 2017 48,800 143 48,900
11 Labour slashes Tory lead to just five points in latest poll taken this week May 25, 2017 43,600 1,900 45,500
12 Election poll shows Labour is ahead in the UK general election Jun 7, 2017 42,300 2,900 45,300
13 Labour and Lib Dems reject Greens’ call for electoral pact against Tories Apr 19, 2017 41,900 3,100 45,100
14 Young people, here’s what no one is telling you about the general election: you could swing it May 12, 2017 41,800 1,700 43,600
15 General election 2017: Campaigning continues Apr 18, 2017 20,600 22,300 43,500
16 Professor Stephen Hawking backs Labour in general election because Tories would be a ‘disaster for NHS and police’ Jun 5, 2017 33,700 9,400 43,100
17 Why should I not vote Conservative? 29 nasty policies you shouldn’t forget in the 2017 general election Apr 28, 2017 38,700 3,500 42,200
18 Theresa May to seek general election on 8 June Apr 18, 2017 31,200 9,000 41,700
19 General election 2017: Two million apply to register to vote May 20, 2017 36,700 4,800 41,600
20 Dennis Skinner: Theresa May called an election because of Tory fraud investigation Apr 20, 2017 38,100 1,600 39,600

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