After Political Scrapbook highlighted bizarre behaviour on his account, government minister Grant Shapps has denied using automated software to boost his following on Twitter, effectively claiming he follows and unfollows thousands of people each week — entirely by hand. Shapps told his local paper:

“No-one else has access to my Twitter account … and the decisions as to who to follow are entirely mine.”

Voters in central Hertfordshire may well ask what on earth their MP does all day, with statistics revealing:

  • On the eve of local elections in his Welwyn Hatfield Constituency, Shapps unfollowed 727 people in one day.
  • Oral questions for his department last took place on 2 July, a day on which he followed 334 accounts. The day before, he had unfollowed 1,360.
  • In the week to 16 July, he had followed and unfollowed more than 3,000 people, an average of nearly 450 per day.

Meanwhile, Scrapbook’s report of adverts for Thai brides on Shapps’ website last week saw the MP lash out at John Prescott, accusing him of looking for a far-eastern wife on the web. With Prezza merely re-tweeting our blog post, the Mail on Sunday were forced to pull a defamatory article which repeated Shapps’ smear.

After those who had originally seen the ads denying they had been on such sites, analysis by Political Scrapbook yesterday shows that the ads were likely displayed owing to content on Shapps’ website, which contains 15 mentions of Thailand including a specific reference to mail order brides:

“are you sure she is not from thailand and is a mail order bride[?]”

With Shapps pulling the ads from his site, perhaps he has taken the time to familiarise himself with Google’s contextual targeting.

  1. In which case, all I can say is that he chooses very odd hours to do this. The three times he has unfollowed me have occurred between 2am and 4am.

  2. Now that he has handed housing policy over to the private house builders and loan companies, he hasn’t got a lot to do.

    It’s not as if he is interested in housing anyway. Much better things to do than worry about the worst housing crisis in the UK for decades and children being forced to live with parents into their forties! Not while he can promote himself on twitter.

    Politics is all abour priorities and Shapps has got his right: him first, party funders second, housing need nowhere.

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