Analyzing the top seven Facebook groups that seemed organic and not third-party advertisers, we found that meme groups mostly engaged in negative campaigning, fostering group affinities and trying to vote out Trudeau.
Over the 40-day campaign, these groups posted 580 memes or on average 14.5 memes per day. As seen in Figure 1, NDP and anti-Trudeau Facebook groups were the most active.
- No active meme groups were dedicated to promoting Trudeau, Scheer, or May.
- Anti-Trudeau meme groups encouraged followers to vote Conservative for Scheer, though not as much as criticizing Trudeau.
- Singh was the most popular candidate in memes with NDP-leaning meme groups engaging in positive campaigning around their leader and party.
Figure 2 summarizes the table above. Tone has been coded by one coder at present, so inter-coder reliability is not available.
From our first-hand experiences of collecting memes, we noticed that:
- Misinformation about Trudeau, especially allegations of sexual misconduct, had a receptive audience in anti-Trudeau groups, a popular theme throughout the campaign.
- Styles differed by partisan groups with NDP and Liberal groups seeming the most adept in referencing Internet culture where Anti-Trudeau memes created their own ‘internet ugly’ images shared by supporters.
After the election, we will be analyzing the content and partisan styles of memes as well as further code memes by issue so please keep following for more analysis.