Watch: Laughter in the Senedd as Drakeford and Tory member clash over £135,000 Welsh Government TikTok spend
There was laughter in the Senedd as the First Minister and a Tory member clashed over how much money the Welsh Government had spent on TikTok last year.
Tom Giffard, who is a Senedd Member for South Wales East, had previously been told to “spend a little less time on Instagram” by Mark Drakeford after quizzing him over the lack of activity on his social media channels.
However, Tom Giffard returned to the theme today, telling the First Minister: “You will be delighted to know I followed your advice; I’ve been looking at TikTok instead.”
He added: “You will recall that my colleague Andrew R.T. Davies submitted a freedom of information request last year, and discovered, in the financial year of 2021 alone, the Welsh Government spent over £135,000 on advertising on TikTok.
“That’s one year on one social media website. But, when Andrew R.T. Davies asked what the total reach of the posts was in return for the money spent, he was told the Welsh Government didn’t store that data.
“If that’s true, it means the Welsh Government has no idea how many people that spending reached, whether it reached the right people, or whether the money was well spent. No trail, no nothing.
“Do you share my concerns, First Minister, that spending hundreds of thousands of pounds in this way, and having no means whatsoever to judge whether that was effective or not, is an incredibly poor way of spending taxpayers’ money?”
Mark Drakeford responded that “despite not devoting the amount of time he does to social media, I turn out to be a good deal better informed than he is”.
“So, let me help him,” he said. “Let me explain to him that over the last two years there has been a 400 per cent increase in followers of the Welsh Government’s different social media channels.
“So, if he’s concerned about the effectiveness of the spending, he’ll be cheered up by that. He’ll be cheered up by the fact that we now have 2.9 million followers of Welsh Government social media channels, and he will surely be even more pleased to learn that on St David’s Day last year, because he was interested in that I remember, 19.4 million people across the Welsh Government’s digital and social media outlets were in contact with the messages of the Welsh Government, including 13 million people who watched video content produced by the Welsh Government through our social media channels.
“So, I’m glad to have been able to help the Member this afternoon, and now he may find it less necessary to ask me questions where the answers are so reassuring to him.”
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