May 16, 2017
The secret yearnings of pro-Tory Facebook groups
What's happening inside hidden Facebook groups devoted to Conservative die-hards? They're much smaller in size compared to Jeremy Corbyn's Facebook "Army", despite a historical push by Conservatives on Facebook advertising - but the Tories of Facebook are a highly active group, including party staff and grassroots members. As part of BBC Trending's exploration of the impact of social media on the General Election, we've gained access to "Conservatives Online", which has roughly 9,000 members, and its sister page, the "Conservative Debating Forum", which has more than 2,000 members. There are a number of other Conservative groups of similar size. One popular post in "Conservatives Online" on 10 March asked "Should Mrs May Call an Election before the summer? My own opinion is NO":. Interestingly, despite the perception of fox hunting being popular among the Tory base, there is also scepticism in these groups about May's support for a free vote on whether to strike down the 2004 ban on fox hunting, with many members opposed to a rethink on the issue.
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