Scotland

Scots referendum sparks 10m Facebook interactions

Facebook picture
Image caption Facebook is introducing a function allowing Scots to show they have voted

Facebook says it has seen more than 10 million interactions concerning the Scottish independence referendum in a five-week period.

Its figures covering 1 August to 8 September suggest the Yes campaign has a narrow lead in terms of discussion.

They cover comments, posts, likes and shares and 85% of them came from Scotland.

Facebook is now introducing a function that allows users to tell friends after they have voted in the referendum.

The 'I'm a voter' button allows users to publicise that they have cast their ballot, but does not show which way they voted. It has been used during elections in the United States and India.

'Come to life'

Facebook's research shows the site saw 2.05 million interactions directly related to the "Yes" movement during the five week period. There were 1.96 million related to the Better Together campaign.

The Yes campaign page on Facebook has attracted 258,000 likes, compared with 182,000 for the No campaign, and grew by 27% in the five-week period, compared to Better Together, which grew by 17%.

Analysis also shows the level of conversation around First Minister Alex Salmond is more than double that of Alistair Darling, the leader of the "No" campaign.

Elizabeth Linder, Facebook's politics and government specialist for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said: "In just a month we've seen the referendum debate come to life on Facebook.

"Studies show that when people see their Facebook friends talking about voting, they are more likely to vote themselves. We hope the 'I'm a Voter' button will make it easy for voters to share that they are taking part in the referendum at the end of months of debate and discussion."