What does a satellite campaign do? The use of Momentum in Labour’s 2017 General Election Facebook campaign

Research output: Working paper


Satellite campaigns have been discussed as core parts of parties online campaigns. However, study is needed to understand the specifics of what satellite campaigns are, where they fit and how they are used as part of parties’ social media election campaigns. This article comparatively examines Facebook pages across the 2017 general election; Momentum, Labour Party page and Labour leader page information and participation content is comparatively investigated to understand what sets satellite campaigning apart. Findings show that Labour had generated a Facebook approach termed ‘Janus-faced campaigning’. Labour was using leader, party and satellite pages with diverse approaches to speak to different audiences, thus presenting different faces of the same party to the public. The party engaged in two core forms of approach. The 'traditional Facebook campaign' via the leader and party page, saw the party using core policy messages, open inclusive rhetoric and a focus on information over participation to campaign to the mass public. This approach was supported by what is termed the 'new methods Facebook campaign'. Here, satellite page Momentum focused equally on participation and information, using novel, partisan and divisive content, large amounts of leadership personalisation and humour, to activate a younger more partisan audience and get them campaigning online and offline. The group treated their online audience as a reservoir of potential offline campaign activism, breaking down the barriers between ‘official’ and ‘virtual members’. This multifaceted approach allowed Labour to engage in different strands of organic communications, campaigning to (and through) different audiences in the most effective manner.

Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationarXiv
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Facebook
  • satellite campaigning
  • 2017 general election
  • uk politics
  • Jeremy Corbyn
  • momentum
  • communications
  • digital media
  • social media content
  • social network content
  • social media campaign
  • digital campaign
  • labour party
  • labour election campaign
  • uk general election
  • quantitative content analysis
  • facebook content
  • facebook campaign

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)

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