How a group of civic technologists helped swing UK’s General Election

Election Night at Newspeak House/ Manisha Ganguly

Election Night at Newspeak House/ Manisha Ganguly

Really delighted to see this retrospective piece on the nest of hacking around the last UK general election that was Newspeak House in London (we covered its kickoff a few months ago).

There is an interview with Newspeak's dean, Edward Saperia, and profiles of some of the projects that were birthed in the last few months, and intend to keep going (given we don't know how soon the next General Election will be).

Here's some of them below

WhatA real-time automated fact-checking tool by Full Fact

Why: Mevan Babakar, Digital Project Manager of Fullfact says: “We were looking at everything the parties had put out, newspapers, even memes online, and doing our best to fact check as many of them as possible so people had the information they needed to scrutinise them. It’s not about telling them if it’s true or false, but giving them links back to the primary sources so they can make up their own minds.”

“One of the biggest things we did this election is automating the fact-checking process and using the tools we’d built within our own workflow to make the process quicker, with shareable visualisations. Our goal is to answer questions people have in a non-partisan and non-biased way, so we looked at things people were asking us, like the garden taxthe NHS crisis and immigration."

How it fared:
10 million engagements on Facebook and Twitter.

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What: Tactical 2017a tactical voting website aimed at aligning all tactical voters behind the best candidate for their constituency

Why: David Kitchen of the Tactical2017 says it started with a viral spreadsheet by Becky Snowden, recommending who to vote for in each constituency to prevent the predicted Conservative majority. He got in touch with her and a week later, several volunteers came together to turn this into a website. 

How it fared: Attracted 2.6 million unique visitors in 5 weeks and 650,000 unique visitors in the 48 hours prior to polls closing.

What: Corbyn Run, an 8-bit political game based on the Labour manifesto to engage millennial voters

Why: James Moulding, designer and producer of Corbyn Run says: We wanted to guerrilla-market the Labour manifesto pledges to 18-34 year olds in an unusual and digestible way. People played it for 3.5 minutes each, and that’s 3.5 minutes more than they would have ever looked at a political flyer or an advertisement.

How it fared: 100,000 downloads in a week with 1.6 million impressions across all platforms.

More here.