Company

UK election conversation attracts over 15m Tweets

By Katy Minshall
Thursday, 19 December 2019

As the curtains close on #GE2019, we look back to see how the election conversation played out on Twitter and share some key insights into the trends, topics, themes, and Tweets that occupied the minds of UK voters.

Throughout the six weeks of campaigning, there was a consistently high level of political debate on UK Twitter, including from candidates, parties, voters, journalists, civil society groups, and interested election-watchers. 

Our key priority was ensuring the conversation was healthy, open, and safe - as part of this we enforced our global political ads ban in mid-November.  We also worked to ensure that Twitter remained the go-to place for people who wanted credible election-related information, updates from the campaign trail, and a diversity of news and views. For more on how we approached the election, read here.

Here are some key statistics relating to the #GE2019 conversation from November 6th to December 12th on the service:

  • More than 15 million Tweets were posted about the election - highlighting how political discourse on the service continues to thrive; 
  • Overall, the highest volume of Tweets we saw was related to the exit poll results. At 10:05pm, there was an influx of almost 10,000 Tweets posted over 60 seconds; 
  • Approximately 170,000 people in the UK clicked through to Twitter’s custom prompt, created in collaboration with Democracy Club, to find out where their local polling station was and who was on their ballot. 
  • Conversational volume relating to both Conservative and Labour leaders was neck-in-neck for the last two weeks of the campaign, up until 24 hours before election day — with only a 0.32% difference in Tweet volume between the two at that stage. 
  • Compared with the UK election in 2017, there was a 66% increase in the volume of the Twitter conversation from the beginning of the campaign to the end of election day. This marks a significant uptick in engagement and reflects the increasing value of the service as the go-to place for conversation during election cycles. 
This Tweet is unavailable
This Tweet is unavailable.

Key topics 

Engagement with key civil and political issues on Twitter,  proved to be wide-ranging, with people engaging on topics such as #Brexit, #IVoted, #Conservative, #Labour, #ClimateChange and #NHS. Engagement in these areas was high and opinions were varied throughout the campaign. 

This Tweet is unavailable
This Tweet is unavailable.
This Tweet is unavailable.
This Tweet is unavailable.

The two primary party leaders of Johnson and Corbyn were a major focus of the six-week-long election conversation on Twitter.  On the day of the election itself we saw three party leaders being the focus of much conversation - Labour, Conservative and the Scottish National Party. 

This Tweet is unavailable
This Tweet is unavailable.

A key part of any election is the turnout of #DogsAtPollingStations and this year didn’t disappoint.  Pictures of the canine electorate flooded the service once the polls opened at 7am - giving people a respite from the political debates that had dominated up to that point. Here’s a small selection of over 122,000 #DogsAtPollingStations Tweets we saw throughout #ElectionDay

This Tweet is unavailable
This Tweet is unavailable.
This Tweet is unavailable.
This Tweet is unavailable.

Civic engagement

As well as launching our custom #GE2019 Emoji and GIF, Twitter launched two on-service prompts in the days leading up to the ballot, which aimed to increase civic participation in the voting process. The tool was designed to help people locate their local polling station was and identify who was on their ballot. 

This Tweet is unavailable
This Tweet is unavailable.

Throughout the four days leading to election day, approximately 170,000 people clicked through to the prompt, enabling them to get credible, verified, up to date and local election information through Twitter.

This Tweet is unavailable
This Tweet is unavailable.

The activating hashtags of; #GE2019, #GE19, #GeneralElection19 and #General Election2019 were used over 6 million times — showing the power of these hashtags in bringing the conversation together throughout this election. Additionally, as the heatmap below shows, engagement in the #GE2019 conversation on election day was spread across all regions.

This Tweet is unavailable
This Tweet is unavailable.

As with every election around the globe, election integrity and online safety are key priorities for Twitter, and #GE2019 was no different. To this end, we worked to ensure the conversation was healthy, open, and safe for everyone and implemented a clear plan to safeguard the UK election. 

We’ll continue supporting and protecting conversations on the service, particularly during election cycles, and we’ll strive to be open and transparent as we enhance and refine our approach.

This Tweet is unavailable
This Tweet is unavailable.
@katyminshall

Katy Minshall

‎@katyminshall‎

Head of UK Government, Public Policy and Philanthropy, Twitter UK

Only on Twitter