Wednesday January 29, 2020

UK election lays bare social media’s distorting effect

The online reaction to a picture of a boy lying on a hospital floor showed how quickly misinformation can spread. Some journalists’ response to the fallout was even more concerning

12th December, 2019
Boris Johnson on the campaign trail: all political parties have increased their spending dramatically on social media in the British general election. Picture: Getty

When a mother sent a picture of her four-year-old son lying on coats on the floor of a Leeds hospital to the local newspaper this week, she might have suspected that it would be of interest to voters. She could not have imagined, however, that the image of her boy, Jack, who had suspected pneumonia, would become a flashpoint in Britain’s ragged election.

By itself, it was no surprise that the picture and...

Subscribe from just €1 for the first month!

Exclusive offers:

All Digital Access + eReader



Unlimited Access for 1 Month

Then €19.99 a month after the offer period.

Get basic
*New subscribers only
You can cancel any time.



€149 For the 1st Year

Unlimited Access for 1 Year

You can cancel any time.




90 Day Pass

You can cancel any time.

Team Pass

Get a Business Account for you and your team

Related Stories

It’s not all high-flying IT and finance professionals – 60 per cent of workers in Ireland earn less than €30,000 a year and income and social class are a big influence on how people cast their ballot

Aidan Regan | 3 days ago

The issue of high construction costs needs to be urgently addressed

Ian Guider | 3 days ago

Sinn Féin’s unlikely resurgence could put it in position to become part of the next government, but its populist stance on issues such as tax could be disastrous for the economy

Lucinda Creighton | 3 days ago