West Suffolk MP Matt Hancock said he is ‘delighted’ by the huge reaction created by the social network Matt Hancock.
The Digital and Culture secretary said: “You have to do it with a smile on your face. I didn’t possibly think that it would have caught people’s imagination in the way that it has, and all the hilarity involved, but ultimately it’s about communicating with my constituents and constituents communicating with each other. I’ve already seen a lot of that.”
The app allows users to keep up to date with Mr Hancock, talk to each other, and post public messages in a moderated environment. Like Facebook, on Matt Hancock you can also direct message people, add friends, and watch live streams when broadcast.
“We have never laughed so hard in the office. My favourite was the guy who said that he was leaving Tinder for it,” he said.
“I am delighted with how its gone.”
Addressing privacy concerns he said that it met regulations and was designed by to follow industry standards.
“The company who designed it have previously designed the app for the rolling stones, so I have done it with experts,” he said.
Genuine West Suffolk residents are verified on the platform, in a similar way to Twitter, and are given a ‘green tick’.
“The reason I am interested in people’s location is simply because this is focused on my constituents so they have designed it so only constituents will get a green tick because its that conversation between and with my constituents that I am looking to encourage,” said the cabinet minister.
The first politician to create an app, he said that he did it in his local role to enable him to communicate with his constituents on social media and to ‘engender a community dialogue’.
Social media companies are been accused by governments around the world for not doing enough to stop the spread of ‘fake news’, with some politicians arguing that they should be treated as publishers and face the increased regulation this brings.
Asked if he was a social media proprietor or a publisher, he laughed: “I think as the Prime Minister said in Davos last week, this is an important issue. I am certainly not a full blown publisher but I’m not a mere conduit either.”
The Matt Hancock app is available on iOS and Android.