In this week’s newsletter: before it was banned, Politics For All’s emoji-laden tweets were reaching millions of followers – and the UK government - by manipulating the perverse incentives of social media
If you want to understand how a group of teenagers with no journalistic experience created one of the most influential political social media accounts in the UK, then ask Travis Wright. The 18-year-old spent most of last year helping to build Politics For All which, before it was banned by Twitter last week, gained 100,000s of followers including cabinet ministers, celebrities, and sports stars.
By day he was studying multimedia journalism at a sixth form college in rural Suffolk but when lessons finished he was writing breaking news tweets that were being shared by cabinet ministers and Match of the Day host Gary Lineker.
The trick Politics For All used to go viral was simple, he said: “You’d follow a tonne of journalists. And you’d see a tweet here or there and you’d say: ‘That’s good, I’ll take that’.”