• Grassroots group Labour Future appeared to be trying to scare people
  • It shared on Facebook a mock poster bearing the official logos of Public 
  • It read: ‘Have you bought your NHS insurance?… Don’t put it off.’ 

Katherine Rushton, Media And Technology Editor For The Daily Mail

The mock poster that was 'fake news'

The mock poster that was 'fake news'

The mock poster that was ‘fake news’

On social media, fake news and computer-generated images are increasingly used in political campaigning.

A recent survey by ICM revealed 52 per cent of British adults were struggling to tell the difference between real and fake news in the run up to the general election.

Grassroots group Labour Future, which campaigns on behalf of Labour, appeared to be trying to scare people away from voting Conservative when it shared on Facebook a mock poster bearing the official logos of Public Health England and the NHS.

It read: ‘Have you bought your NHS insurance? From January 2018 the NHS will no longer be a free service. You and your family may be eligible for minimum health coverage for £4,500 a year.

‘Don’t put it off. Don’t put your family at risk’.

The group deleted the post after an outcry from Public Health England and the NHS over the ‘clearly fake’ information.

The post was one of many to swarm Facebook by groups in favour of Jeremy Corbyn.

An analysis of the site’s content suggests it may have cost the Tories their majority by driving young Labour supporters to the polls.

Millions used the social network to share articles praising Jeremy Corbyn and trashing the Tories and Theresa May.

These ‘posts’ are likely to have had a powerful effect on Facebook’s predominantly youthful users, who are increasingly reliant on social media as their main source of news.

Of the top 20 most popular political subjects talked about on Facebook, almost all of the discussion topics about Labour cast it in a positive light.

Of the top 20 most popular political subjects talked about on Facebook, almost all of the discussion topics about Labour cast it in a positive light. Pictured: A Labour supporter

Of the top 20 most popular political subjects talked about on Facebook, almost all of the discussion topics about Labour cast it in a positive light. Pictured: A Labour supporter

Of the top 20 most popular political subjects talked about on Facebook, almost all of the discussion topics about Labour cast it in a positive light. Pictured: A Labour supporter

Opinion pieces heaping praise on Mr Corbyn were shared nearly one million times, according to an analysis by Buzzfeed News of the 250 most widely reposted Facebook articles.

Other popular subjects were his promise to end student tuition fees and supposed ‘media bias’ against the Labour leader.

By contrast, six of the seven most popular topics about the Conservatives were deeply critical. Stories about the NHS were shared more than 442,000 times, while Mrs May’s backing for fox hunting was shared by more than 340,000 people. Many of the most popular stories about Labour were gimmicky quizzes from little-known websites.

One article by blogger Thomas Clark, which asked readers, ‘How many of Jeremy Corbyn’s policies do you actually disagree with?’, was shared nearly 80,000 times. An article by left-wing blog The Canary – published just before the deadline to register to vote – told readers: ‘In only 72 hours, young people show they could have a nasty surprise in store for Theresa May.’ It was shared more than 54,000 times in a week.

The Tories invested heavily in advertising on Facebook, to target voters in different areas with carefully tailored messages.

The party ran at least 314 adverts on the social network, putting it ahead of Labour’s 241, according to figures from data analysts Who Targets Me?. The Lib Dems ran more than 1,000.

 

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