BBC death song and North Korea doc rows erupt on social media

April 15, 2013, 12:00 PM GMT+0

The BBC is having a tumultuous few days, with rows over whether to play a Margaret Thatcher ‘death song’ and its decision to air a controversial North Korea documentary dominating chatter about the corporation on social media.

On Friday, using SoMA, YouGov’s social media analysis tool, we told how the debate over whether the BBC should play ‘Ding Dong the Witch is Dead’ was exploding on Twitter and Facebook. The controversy continued over the weekend, but was mooted when the anti-Thatcher anthem failed to reach the number one spot on the BBC’s Official Chart Show, which aired on Sunday. The song, originally, from The Wizard of Oz was more than 5,000 sales short of this week's chart-topper 'Need U (100%)' by Duke Dumont featuring A*M*E.

SoMA reveals that yesterday British Facebookers were rather preoccupied with the death song controversy, with ‘BBC’ cropping up in the newsfeeds of 13.5% of the UK Facebook population. Top words mentioned alongside the BBC were “news", "radio", "ding", "dong" and "thatcher". But looking at SoMA’s analysis of Twitter yesterday, we can see that while British Facebookers were still hearing about the death song, Twitter users had moved onto the BBC’s latest hullabaloo.

Panorama North Korea doc

Three BBC journalists accompanied 10 LSE students on a study trip to North Korea. The BBC said the students were informed of the risks involved and gave their consent, but the LSE claims the students were not told the whole truth about what was happening, and therefore could not give informed consent. The LSE has called on the corporation to pull the programme, titled 'North Korea Undercover' and set to air tonight, but the BBC has refused and said it will go forward with the broadcast.

Yesterday 50% of UK Twitter users were hearing about the BBC and, in contrast to the Thatcher death song conversations being heard on Facebook, the top words mentioned alongside the national broadcaster were “news”, “korea”, “thatcher”, “north”, “lse” and “students”.

Fast forward to today, and both Twitter and Facebook users hearing about the BBC have (mostly) moved on from Thatcher and are focused on the furious row between the BBC and the LSE. Currently, 40% of UK Twitter users are hearing about the BBC, although we expect this percentage to increase throughout the day. Top words heard alongside BBC on Twitter are “news”, “korea”, “north”, “thatcher” and “lse”. On Facebook, 6% are hearing about the BBC with top words being “news”, “radio”, “north” and “out”.

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