“Where did they go? Shifting Social Media Strategies during the 2024 European Parliament Campaign” – 13 June 2023


The takeover and rebranding of Twitter/X by Elon Musk, coupled with the previous (now rescinded) banning of former US President Donald Trump from the platform, has seriously fractured the ways that politicians make use of online campaigning tools, as voters diversify their choice of social media platforms. Yet, most academic research on social media campaigns continues to focus only on a single platform at a time, which for the past decade has been dominated by Twitter/X. We use the context of the 2024 European Parliament elections to examine how the shifting nature of social media campaigning is being realised, benefitting from variation in the legislature’s broad cross-national and multi-party context. Do politicians sort into different platforms? What are the implications for the creation of echo chambers? Our analysis of multiple, competing public platforms – such as Twitter/X, Facebook, Instagram, and Tik Tok – allows us to explore how the same politicians are now making use of different campaigning routes. To do so, we explore the effect of candidate background characteristics – incumbency, previous account history, age, national and party differences – alongside their online activity – number of accounts/platforms used, preferred medium/content styles, and user engagement. In doing so, we gauge the extent to which campaign strategies are adapting to the reality of an increasingly atomised social mediascape.

William T. Daniel is Associate Professor in Comparative Politics in the School of Politics and International Relations at the University of Nottingham (UK).