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April on social media

The public reacts to the Windrush scandal

April saw the eruption of the Windrush scandal, which emerged after it was revealed that relatives of migrants from Commonwealth Caribbean countries who settled in the UK from the late 1940s to the 1970s had been declared illegal immigrants if they were unable to provide documentation to prove they had lived in the UK continuously.

The Windrush scandal was one of the top most noticed news stories on social media in April, capturing the attention of 20% and 22% of the UK public in the last two weeks respectively. The publication in The Guardian of a private letter from former Home Secretary Amber Rudd to Downing Street acknowledging an ‘ambitious but deliverable’ target for an increase in enforced deportation of immigrants culminated in her resignation over the scandal later that month. Populus research carried out on behalf of IMiX finds that 65% of Britons support an independent inquiry into Home Office conduct following the scandal.

Data remains on the agenda

The Facebook/ Cambridge Analytica scandal continued to capture the public’s attention throughout April. It was noticed by 10% of the public in the second week of the month. It was a month in which Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg appeared before Senate and Aleksandr Kogan, the developer at the heart of the data breach scandal, appeared at a hearing before MPs.

This month Populus published research using our proven Reputation Model to assess the impact of the scandal on Facebook’s reputation. It shows that post-crisis, the internet giant’s reputation has decreased significantly while its intensity score has increased. This shows that not only do people have a poorer view of Facebook, but their feelings about it are stronger.

The full findings – which include comparisons with other crises and research into public opinion regarding data collection (more than half 58% believe it is the responsibility of Facebook users to educate themselves on how their data may be used) are reported in an article published by CorpComms.

News stories at home and abroad

The public’s attention turned to international news stories as the Syria chemical attack caught the attention of around a third (36%) of the public in the second week of the month. The following week, the Syria airstrikes were the top most noticed news story, catching the attention of 32% of the UK public. It continued to feature in the top 10 most noticed news stories at the end of the month. The Russia spy poisoning was the top most noticed news story in the first week of April, catching the attention of 31% of the public.

Brighter news

To cheer us all up, the UK basked in a 3 day heatwave which saw #sunshine, #WarmestDayoftheYear and #Heatwave all trend on Twitter on their respective days. We also celebrated #NationalPetDay and #NationalSiblingDay. Two young royals in particular had cause for celebration for the latter, as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge welcomed their third child, Prince Louis, on 23 April – which was the third most noticed news story (17%) at the end of the month

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