4 out of 5 MPs think social media has negative impact on politics, reveals survey

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11th September 2019 11:58 - Central Government

4 out of 5 MPs think social media has negative impact on politics: A  poll asking MPs for their opinions about social media and politics found that 81% believe social networking platforms have changed public opinion about MPs for the worse.

The survey by political and media software provider, Vuelio, found that almost four in five (79%) said that the amount of information available across social media platforms has made it difficult to source information from trustworthy sources, while 78% of respondents said they feel overloaded by the the volume of information out there.

When asked about the impact of social media on policy making 42% of MPs said that they feel the process has changed for the worse as a direct result of social media, while more than a third (36%) think it has affected politics for the worse by changing public understanding of policy. 

Looking at the effectiveness of social media versus other platforms for engagement with constituents, respondents rated social media almost twice as important for engagement as securing editorial coverage, with 64% favouring social media compared to just over a third (35%) saying editorial was more important. The gap was much closer when asked about social media versus face-to-face meetings with constituents (64% vs 70%). The research found that almost three quarters (74%) of younger MPs (born after 1970) found social media an important communication tool, compared to just under half (49%) of those born between 1950-1959. 

Despite their reservations about social media in some areas, MPs could still see some benefits, with 47% agreeing that it had made politics more transparent and 44% saying it offers them more opportunities for engagement with their consituents.

Commenting on the research, Joanna Arnold, CEO of Vuelio said: 

"The depth of concern that MPs have is a timely reminder of the risks of social media as well as the potential it has to transform political engagement.”

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