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How Twitter backlash against a controversial news story sparked a surge of charity donations

A story in yesterday’s Mail on Sunday prompted an angry reaction on social media.

Food bank report File photo of workers at a UK food bank Source: PA Wire/Press Association Images

YESTERDAY, THE MAIL on Sunday ran a story about a major charity running food banks across the UK.

The article about the Trussell Trust claimed to highlight “scroungers” and “fraudsters” taking advantage of the service, with “inadequate checks on who claims the vouchers”.

It also claimed to “undermine” a statement the charity had made earlier in the week, highlighting the scale of the UK’s poverty problem.

Source: dailymail.co.uk

However, there was an angry backlash against the article on social media, from users who felt it was an unfairly negative portrayal of the food bank charity.

The article was shared more than 6,000 times according to the Mail’s own social media counters.

And by the end of the day, the charity had seen a sharp rise in donations.

Source: theguardian.com

Contributions to the Trussell Trust shot up by more than 1,000 per cent following the publication of the story, according to Buzzfeed. More than 4,000 people have donated since the article went live.

Anger at the story focused around a Mail on Sunday reporter who attended a food bank and claimed to be in need of help.

Source: dailymail.co.uk

 

Under a headline reading “MoS reporter got 3 days of groceries… no questions asked”, the paper notes that charity workers gave a voucher “entitling him to a generous three days’ worth of shopping –without even asking for any identification.”

Several Twitter users pointed out that he had in fact been asked a number of questions.

(All the food the reporter received was returned, along with a donation to the charity.)

Donations on the Trussell Trust’s JustGiving page currently stand at just over £50,000. The charity tweeted this afternoon:

About the author:

Michael Freeman

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