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Panorama finds Facebook has 'decisive' influence on elections

The programme explores Facebook's impact on political campaigns

Tonight's episode of Panorama promises to be compulsive viewing. As part of an investigation into

what Facebook does with personal data, the programme studies the role the social network played in Donald Trump's election and the EU referendum.

The team spoke to senior figures in Trump's presidential campaign and the political consultant behind leave.eu's referendum strategy about their victories. Tellingly, both groups said that Facebook had been a decisive influence.

Panorama also discovered that Facebook had teams of people working directly with both the Republic and Democratic parties in America. The company wouldn't confirm how many, but it said it helps politicians and governments 'make good use of Facebook when asked' – and not just at elections.

A quarter of the world's population now uses Facebook, more than 32 million of those people in the UK alone. As Panorama's findings prove, we can expect that the social networking site will have a significant influence on the result of the General Election next month.

Now is an opportune time to think about sharing your own manifesto messages on social media. Video is one of the most effective ways to do this; the recent introduction of the autoplay feature means Facebook now generates more than 8 billion daily video views. Short clips with text on screen will give the best results, helping you attract the attention of time poor policymakers and the public as they scroll through their feed.

Tune into Panorama at 7.30pm tonight on BBC1. You can find out more about how to use social video in our free guide.

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