Coronavirus NHS Boris Johnson

UK government’s coronavirus media strategy questioned as it forgoes official Facebook channels


By John Glenday, Reporter

March 24, 2020 | 3 min read

The UK government’s official coronavirus pandemic response has been conspicuous by its absence from the world’s most popular social media platform, despite Facebook’s offer of free ad space.


UK government’s coronavirus media strategy questioned as it forgoes official Facebook channels

An investigation by Sky News found nothing but deafening silence on coronavirus from the official account of the UK prime minister as well as the personal profile of Boris Johnson throughout the crisis, failing to mention the public health emergency engulfing the country.

Facebook had offered ‘millions’ in free advertising credits for ministers to reach out directly to people on Facebook and Instagram but has been curiously slow to embrace this offer, despite Johnson having previously bet big on Facebook for a Brexit-related advertising blitz via Conservative Party channels.

Since the outbreak began the official NHS account has run a total of six adverts across both portals advising anyone experiencing symptoms to self-isolate for 14 days but with saturation media coverage and wall-to-wall broadcasts the necessity of additional advertising diminishes.

This realisation has seen the government focus its energy on television, principally via a series of public health announcements detailing symptoms and the proper response if you believe yourself to be infected, which have been airing since 18 March.

Quizzed on their digital reticence a government spokesperson told the broadcaster: “The government is using all available channels, including Facebook and Instagram adverts to provide the public with the information it needs to fulfil its crucial role in delaying the spread of coronavirus.

"The response to our adverts has generated a huge amount of organic reach through our cross-government social media approach. This is in addition to the NHS messaging, which has been our priority so far."

As life goes on within the severe limitations of a new normal, ITV has begun to air its own mental health awareness campaign for those struggling to adapt to the reality of self-isolation.

Coronavirus NHS Boris Johnson

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