The rise of social media has significantly transformed political communication strategies worldwide, and Central-Eastern Europe is no exception. In recent years, political parties in this region have increasingly utilized social media platforms as powerful tools to shape public opinion, mobilize supporters, and disseminate their messages.
This article aims to provide a comparative analysis of the social media tactics employed by some political parties in the region and the associated risks.
Our first example will be Poland and the online battle that plays out between the conservative nationalist PiS (Law and Justice Party) and its biggest competitor, KO (Koalicja Obywatelska), a coalition of multiple parties led by Donald Tusk’s Platforma Obywatelska, the biggest) centre-right opposition party. Both created their main social accounts at relatively early stages of social media in the region, i.e. before 2010; and gathered a similar-sized following. Although Twitter used to be their key platform, both shifted focus to Facebook, Tweets more than a year old top on their accounts on what is now named X, whereas each party posts at least 2-3 times a day on Facebook. It’s debatable whether this is due to X’s recent decline since Elon Musk bought the platform and rebranded it, or to Meta’s overall dominance in social media political campaigns
. However, it makes it easier to “follow the money” as Meta has a transparent way of showing spending on ads on its platform. Based on this data, we can see that PO and the whole KO coalition have spent about four times more in recent months than PiS. This hasn’t translated into votess, yet, as support for both parties in opinion polls has been pretty stable this year. PiS stood at 36%, and KO at 29 on January 1, while they stood at 36% and 30% respectively on July 31.