Published: Wed, November 20, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Tories criticised over Twitter 'factcheckUK' rebranding

Tories criticised over Twitter 'factcheckUK' rebranding

Twitter accused Britain's governing Conservatives on Wednesday (Nov 20) of misleading the public by rebranding themselves as fact-checkers during a live TV election debate, fuelling concerns about trust in politics.

"The Tories are now resorting to deliberately misleading the public", he added.

With its avatar changed to a white tick against a purple background instead of the party's traditional blue branding, the account, which is followed by 76,000 users, issued tweets supporting Johnson and criticising Corbyn.

The Conservative Campaign Headquarters press office account, followed by almost 76,000 users, changed its name to "factcheckUK" from its usual "CCHQPress" and switched its avatar to a white tick against a purple background.

The combative response came despite Twitter warning that the Conservative account would face "decisive corrective action" if they repeat the stunt.

Labour said what the Conservative press office had done was a "scam" that showed the party could not be trusted in government. "We want to make it clear that we are holding Labour to account for the nonsense they systematically and serially put on the Conservatives. Any further attempts to mislead people by editing verified profile information - in a manner seen during the UK Election Debate - will result in decisive corrective action".

'We are not going to be a punchbag for the nonsense put out by the Left that goes unchallenged, ' he said in a round of broadcast interviews.

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"It was pegged to the CCHQ account".

One of the UK's most respected fact-checking organisation Full Fact has criticised the Conservatives for changing their Twitter handle to "factcheckUK" for the ITV debate.

Conservative Party chairman James Cleverly BBC attempted to defend the move on Newsnight, saying that the party had to change the name of the feed, to "call out" Corbyn's views about the NHS.

The account reverted back to its original branding once the debate had finished.

But a Twitter spokeswoman warned that rules were in place to "prohibit behaviour that can mislead people, including those with verified accounts". "Doesn't sound to me like they like the competition".

Prior to the controversy, Twitter had pledged to make it easier to report misleading information about the voting process in the upcoming election. Will Moy, chief executive of the London-based fact-checking website Full Fact, told the BBC: "It was an attempt to mislead voters, and I think it is inappropriate and misleading for a serious political party to behave that way".

This latest controversial move on social media comes less than a month after the Conservative Party was criticised for posting a "doctored" video involving Labour's Sir Kier Starmer, in which the shadow Brexit secretary was made to look as if he met a question, posed by ITV's Piers Morgan, with silence.

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