'Big Brother' apologises for glitches in text voting

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The Independent Online

Channel 4 apologised last night after a series of blunders in voting for Big Brother left 15,000 viewers thinking they had voted to evict a contestant they wanted to stay.

Channel 4 apologised last night after a series of blunders in voting for Big Brother left 15,000 viewers thinking they had voted to evict a contestant they wanted to stay.

For several hours on Tuesday viewers complained that they had been sent up to four text messages confirming their vote, some of them for the wrong candidates. Channel 4 insisted that the correct votes had been registered.

Four housemates – Adele, Jade, Kate and Johnny – are at risk of eviction this week. One will go. Normally viewers choose between two, and the intense competition has led to O2, the company operating the telephone service, receiving a record level of text votes.

O2, which usually sends out a message to acknowledge the caller's 25p text, admitted that some voters had been worried that the wrong vote had been cast and that others had received multiple confirmations from a single vote.

A spokesperson said: "We have confirmed that the multiple confirmations have not made voting inaccurate and the integrity of the voting has not been jeopardised at all."

Channel 4 apologised for the confusion but denied the voting system was in disarray. The confusion had resulted from a technical glitch by a software supplier, Distefora, which handles the text-messaging voting system.

"Following the announcement of this week's nominations, the volume of votes received caused an error at our text messaging centre which resulted in some users receiving multiple and incorrect confirmations of their vote," a spokeswoman said. "The right vote was registered but the wrong confirmation sent out."

The show's independent adjudicator, the Electoral Reform Society, was satisfied with the accuracy of the results for today's eviction, she said.

All those affected should receive a message with a number to call to claim a refund. This Big Brother series is the first to offer a text message facility for voting. More than 302,000 viewers voted by text message in the week that led to Sophie Pritchard's eviction on 28 June.

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