Hi, I’m Liam McLoughlin, and for all my sins, I’m a political researcher.

Lived in Cambridge. I moved to Preston. I now live in Manchester.

I have a fairly substantial video games collection. I also abuse technology a lot.

Talking of games. My handle, Leelum, is a tag I’ve been using online since I was 14.

I take photos, Film & Digital.

I make some fairly idiotic comments. I sometimes write longer idiotic comments too.

I used to work for a fairly well known Member of Parliament.

After that I spent a bit of time working in digital marketing.

My PhD looked at how social media is changing political representation in the UK

You are free to read my stuff or send me a message.

Hey there! My name is Liam, and for what feels like the last decade, I’ve been interested in the ways in which new communication platforms have changed the way we conduct politics. In particular, how social media has changed the communication between citizens and those who seek to represent them. This research has also led me to analyse how the internet has made political communication more aggressive, and in some instances, abusive.

I am also interested in research that looks into everyday political communication within online communities such as Twitter, Reddit or Discord. And the use of social media by state institutions, such as The Houses of Parliament, in the promotion of their work to citizens. If you asked me to summarise my research area into five key research areas, I’d probably go with (but not limited to) Political Communication; Social Media; MPs & Parliament; Social News; & Representation.

I’m also more than aware that academic research best benefits society when it’s read by more than the academic bubble. Hence the blog, but also some of my media appearances. I’ve spoken about my research to the NewStateman, New Scientist, Hits Radio, and GP.SE. In addition, I have also written multiple articles on The Conversation. I’m occasionally also on BBC 5Live’s Question Time Extra time, making five appearances on the show so far as an in-studio commentator (or Extra Timer). If you’re a journalist or producer, I’m more than available for interviews or to provide a comment on your article … just sayin’.


Published articles

McLoughlin, L. (2024). The threat to democracy that wasn’t? Four types of AI-generated synthetic media in the General Election. In Jackson et al. (eds.) UK General Election Analysis 2024:Media, Voters and the Campaign. Available at: https://www.electionanalysis.uk/

Ballatore, A., Rodgers, S., McLoughlin, L., & Moore, S. (2024). Facebook City: Place-named groups as urban communication infrastructure in Greater London. Environment and Planning B: Urban Analytics and City Science. DOI:10.1177/23998083231224136

McLoughlin, L., & Southern, R. (2020). By Any Memes Necessary? Small political acts, incidental exposure and memes during the 2017 UK General Election. British Journal of Politics and International Relations. DOI: 10.1177/1369148120930594

Ward, S. & McLoughlin, L. (2020). Turds, Traitors and Tossers: The Abuse of UK MPs Via Twitter. Journal of Legislative Studies. DOI:10.1080/13572334.2020.1730502

McLoughlin, L., Ward, S., & Lomas, D.W.B. (2020). ”Hello World!”: GCHQ, Twitter and Social Media Engagement. Intelligence and National Security. DOI:10.1080/02684527.2020.1713434

McLoughlin, L., Ward, S., Gibson, R., & Southern, R. (2019). A Tale of Three Tribes: UK MPs, Twitter and the EU Referendum Campaign, Information Polity. DOI:10.3233/IP-190140


McLoughlin, L. (2024). Disruptive Deepfakes or Satire? The creation of Generative Al
Images of politicians. Paper presented to the Political Studies Association’s Annual General Conference, University of Glasgow, 25-27 March.

McLoughlin, L. (2023). Generative AI Politics – Satire, Abuse, or Disinformation? Paper presented to the Political Studies Association’s Media and Politics Group , University of Portsmouth, 26-27 October.

McLoughlin,L. (2023). Moderating Political Communities: Do moderation rules facilitate deliberation? Exploring political subreddits. Paper presented to the Political Studies Association’s 73rd Annual International Conference ‘Political Futures’, University of Liverpool, 3-5 April.

Rodgers, S., Ballatore, A., McLoughlin, L., & Moore, S. (2022). Facebook City: Ambiguities between Commercial Platform and Ordinary Urban Communication Infrastructure. Paper presented to the th European Communication Conference, ECREA, ‘Rethink Impact’, Aarhus, Denmark, 19-22 October.

Ward, S., Southern, R., McLoughlin, L. & Harmer, E. (2022). Why Don’t You Do Some Real Reporting? Online Incivility and Abuse Towards Political Journalists. Paper presented to the Political Studies Association’s Annual International Conference, University of York, 11-13 April.

Rodgers, S., McLoughlin, L., Ballatore, A., Moore, S. (2021). LOCALIZING CONTENT MODERATION: APPROACHING THE ORIENTATIONAL SPACES OF FACEBOOK GROUP ADMINS AND MODS. AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research, 2021. https://doi.org/10.5210/spir.v2021i0.12236

McLoughlin, L. (2021). Conceptualising Content Moderation. Paper presented to the Political Studies Association’s Annual International Conference, Queen’s University Belfast, 29-31 March.

McLoughlin, L. (2020). Towards a greater understanding of what is, and what isn’t allowed on the internet. Paper presented to the PSA ECN #BecauseTheInternet virtual Conference. (https://becausetheinternet.psaecn.co.uk/), 13-24 July.

McLoughlin, L., & Ward, S. (2019). Light in the Darkness? Data Activism and the Campaign Against the Rise of Dark Ads. Paper presented to the Political Studies Association Election, Public Opinion and Parties Conference, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, 13-15 September.

McLoughlin, L., & Ward, S. (2019). Dark Ads & Micro-Targeting versus Pro-Transparency Activism: Normalisation versus Equalisation in the Context of Political ‘Dark’ Advertising in the UK GE2017, UK EU Referendum, and the 2016 US Presidential Election. Paper Presented to the European Consortium of Political Research Joint Sessions, Université catholique de Louvain, Mons, Belgium. 8-12 April.

McLoughlin, L. & Ward, S. (2018). The Abuse of UK MPs on Twitter. Paper presented to Violence against Politicians: Theories, Data, and Implications: Exploratory Seminar at the Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA. 

McLoughlin, L., & Southern, R. (2017). By Any Memes Necessary: Memes and Online Campaigning in the 2017 UK General Election. Paper presented to the Political Studies Association Media and Politics Group Annual Conference, University of Hull, 16-17 November.

McLoughlin, L., & Ward, S. (2017). Turds, Traitors and Tossers: The Abuse of UK MPs via Twitter. Paper presented to the European Consortium of Political Research Joint Sessions, University of Nottingham, 25-29th April

McLoughlin, L., Ward, S., Gibson, R., & Southern, R. (2016).MPs, Twitter and the EU Referendum Campaign. Paper presented to the Elections, Parties and Opinion Polls Conference, University of Kent, 8-10 September.

Media Engagements

Clarke, H. (July 12th, 2024). No policies just vibes – is this what lead to Reform coming second at the general election in Greater Manchester seats?. Roch Valley Radio.

de Souza, A. (July 3rd, 2024). Guerra de memes marca eleição no Reino Unido [Meme War Marks election in the United Kingdom]. DW News.

Stokel-Walker, C. (June 14th, 2024). The Likeless Future of Social Media. Digital Frontier.

Pearson, J. (June 14th, 2024). What X’s move to hide our likes means for accountability. CBC News.

Stokel-Walker, C. (May 23rd, 2024). The joyous #gennylec: how the general election will Make Social Media Fun Again. i news.

Grove, J. (March 14th, 2024). Lectures in question as paid work pushes attendance even lower.Times Higher Education.

Stokel-Walker, C. (Jan 11th, 2024). Chinese social network fails to curb abuse by showing users’ locations, NewScientist .

Stokel-Walker, C. (May 23rd, 2023). Mizzy’s viral videos show the flaws with TikTok’s AI moderation system, i news.

(February 21st, 2023). TikTok’s Boob-Flashing Trend Is A Content Moderation Nightmare. Buzzfeed.

(January 11th, 2023). Big Tech transparency reports are a big mess. FastCompany.

Richards, X. (December 4th, 2022). Data Experts raise fresh questions on BBC’s probe into social media abuse. The Sunday National. (Print & Online).

Stokel-Walker, C. (November 11th, 2022). Content moderation experts: Elon is going about policing hate speech on Twitter all wrong? Fast Company.

(November 17th, 2022). Donald Trump will rely on multi-million war chest and loyal super fans to amplify his presidential message. The i.

Brawn, S. (November 10th, 2022). BBC Accused of producing ‘deeply flawed’ report on MP abuse on Twitter. The National. (Print [front page] + Online).

BBC Merseyside (November 9th, 2022). Helen Jones Show, on the Abuse of MPs on Twitter. Recording here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZIlJdbexyA

Stokel-Walker, C (November 4th, 2022). Elon Musk’s own goal on buying Twitter shows he is more destructor than disruptor. The i.

BBC Radio Kent (January 24th, 2022). The Wake Up Call with Anna Cookson on Boris Johnson, Political Memes, and PartyGate. Recording here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pe-MAkShDGs

Stokel-Walker, C. (June 23, 2021). TikTok says it has stopped post moderation from China after controversies around censorship and privacy. Business Insider.

Manavis, S. (June 15th, 2021). Who is responsible for Christian Eriksen’s cardiac arrest becoming a media spectacle? Newstateman.

McLoughlin, L. (March, 18th, 2021). What ethical responsibilities do social media researchers have to report harmful or illegal content? LSE Impact Blog

BBC Radio 5Live. (Multiple 2018-2020). Question Time: Extra Time.

Al Jazeera. (November 31st, 2019). Is abuse of UK politicians undermining democracy?

McLoughlin, L. (November 5th, 2019). Twitter’s ban on political ads does change the game in one way, The Conversation

Hits Radio/ Greatest Hits Radio (May 21st, 2019). Radio interview for news segment on Jeremy Kyle & the duty of care they have to their audience in relation to social media.

Kobie, N. (April 14th, 2018). Fighting Trolls With Your Friends. New Scientist. (Print)

McLoughlin, L. (January 30th, 2018). Youthquake was a ‘myth’, but social media campaigning is here to stay. The Conversation

Chakleian, A. (December 21st, 2017). Why don’t all ministers resign for lying? The mystery of the sackable offence. Newstateman

McLoughlin, L. (November, 1st. 2017). In light of O’Mara, we can expect our MPs to delete everything. PSA: Political Insight.

McLoughlin, L. & Ward, S. (July 25th. 2017). The people who abuse MPs online. The Conversation.

McLoughlin, L. (February 9th. 2017). Why do MPs keep resigning?. The Conversation.

Carmbrant, C. (May 3rd, 2014). Britterna väljer väg i valet (in Swedish). GP.SE (Print)

Education & Employment

2019University of Salford
PhD – How social media is changing political representation in the United Kingdom
Pathway To Excellence Funded Scholarship
2014University of Manchester
Distinction, Politics MA
Dissertation: Social Media & MP’s Public Communications, mark 83
2013University of Salford
First-Class Honours, Politics Ba (Hons)
2022 – Lecturer in Media & Communication
University of Liverpool
2021 – 2022Lecturer in Politics, School of Social Sciences
University of Manchester
2020 – 2021Postdoctoral Research Fellow on the on Localising Content Governance project
Birkbeck, University of London
2018 – 2020Associate lecturer, & Student Engagement Officer
University of Salford
2018Research Assistant
University of Liverpool
2014 –
Digital Strategist
Jupiter Advertising
2010 –
Parliamentary Assistant
Hazel Blears MP


Lecturer & Seminar Lead: Global News, Media, and War (UG), University of Liverpool (22-23)
Lecturer: Methods in Media & Politics Research (MA), University of Liverpool (22-23)
Seminar Lead: Media and Human Rights (UG), University of Liverpool (22-23)
Lecturer: Dissertation Research Design (MA), University of Manchester (21-22)
Lecturer & Seminar Lead: Politics Of Policy Making (UG), University of Manchester (21-22)
Seminar Lead: British Politics: Power and the State (UG), University of Manchester (21-22)
Seminar Lead: British Politics and Society since 1940: From Blitz to Brexit (UG), University of Manchester (21-22)
Co-Convener: Journalism and Politics (UG), Birkbeck, University of London (20-21)
Co-Convener: Theoretical Perspectives on Media (MA), Birkbeck, University of London (20-21)
Invited Lectures: Representation and the Internet in British Politics (UG), Birkbeck, University of London (20-21)
Invited Lectures: Data and Electoral Campaigning (MA), Birkbeck, University of London (20-21)
Co-Convener: Political Communication (UG), University of Salford (19-20)
Seminar Leader: Introduction to Comparative Politics (UG), University of Salford (19-20)
Module Leader: Politics & Democracy (UG), University of Salford (2018-20)
Co-Convener: E-Democracy/Politics and the Internet (UG), University of Salford (2018-20)
Marking (in addition to the above): Britain and the World & Political Communication.
Invited Lectures: MPs, Social Media, & Political Communication‘ (UG), University of Manchester (16-18)
Workshops:Research In the Digital Humanities‘ and ‘Collecting and Analysing social media data‘, University of Salford. (2018-2019)


2024 – Specialist Group of the Year Award, PSA Annual General Conference.

2021, March – As part of the ECN CommitteeSpecial Recognition Award, PSA Annual Conference.

2020, December – Participatory and Deliberative Democracy Specialist Group ‘“reimagining democracy‘ photography Award.

Academic Engagements

2021 – Operations Officer and Founding member, Technology, Internet, and Policy (TIP) Specialist Group.

2021 – 2022, Trustee & Executive Committee, Political Studies Association.

2019-2021, Communication’s Officer, Political Studies Association’s Early Career Network.
Active in all aspects of the communication from the specialist group, and the promotion of early career scholars in the area of politics. I played a pivotal role in shifting the group (and the wider PSA) to virtual events and created the platform and format for both ‘#BecauseTheInternet’ (2020) and ‘Random Access Memories(2021) virtual conferences.