How Celebrity Twitter Scandals are Changing Social Media Behaviour

Recent scandals involving historic social media posts may be forcing the UK's social media users to re-think what they post. 

Labour politician Jared O'Mara, rapper Stormzy and YouTube personalities Zoey 'Zoella' Sugg and Jack Maynard have all issued apologies over the past few weeks after others had recovered old content.








According to research conducted by Online Spy Shop, that appears to have lead non-celebrity users of social media to 'audit' their own histories and remove any posts they now regret making.



More than half of the UK’s social media users (54%) say they’ve performed an ‘audit’ of their old Twitter posts within the past month. A third of those have gone on to delete at least one post or make the content private.

Many say they were prompted to take action after a number of celebrities, including Jared O'Mara, Stormzy and Zoella faced criticism for historic posts.

twitter audit research

Key findings:


54% of British social media users have performed a Twitter audit in the past month

Of those, a third (32%) say they deleted multiple posts

Millennials are the most likely to audit their tweets - 68% of those aged 18-34 say they’ve done this in the past month and almost half of those (48%) say they deleted regrettable content

A third believe they’ve tweeted things in the past that could be perceived as offensive

Three quarters (74%) say recent apologies from celebrities have prompted them to review their own social media behaviour







Most common reasons for deleting old Twitter posts



Reason

Men

Women

Average

“My opinion has changed”

24%

54%

39%


“What I said could be perceived as offensive/in bad taste”

40%

29%

35%

“What I said could be perceived as bullying”

12%

10%

11%

“What I said could be perceived as sexist”

13%

1%

7%

“What I said could be perceived as harmful to marginalised communities”

8%

1%

5%

Other

3%

5%

4%


Celebrity influence

Google search data shows that celebrity apologies are directly influencing public behaviour. Searches on Google for 'how to delete old tweets' spike in direct correlation with celebrity apologies, suggesting that social media users are seeing the trouble that celebrities are getting into and taking steps to remove their own posts as a result.

The graph below shows search volume over the past 12 months for the term 'how to delete old tweets'.

how to delete old tweets

This graph shows how volume for that search term spikes in relation to celebrity apologies for probematic tweets.


search volume for delete old tweets


About the study:


Online Spy Shop polled 2,000 Britons between the dates of November 15th and November 28th 2017.