Facebook takes down Tory election adverts featuring BBC presenters

Social media giant says video promotion infringed BBC’s intellectual property

Peter Stubley
Monday 02 December 2019 02:20 GMT
Conservative advert 'Get brexit done' features BBC presenters

Facebook has taken down a Conservative Party election advert which used edited BBC news footage about Brexit.

The social media giant said the promotional material – which was seen at least 350,000 times – breached its policies on intellectual property rights.

It followed a complaint from the BBC that the snippets had been used out of context and “could damage perceptions of our impartiality”.

The Conservative Party refused a request to pull the adverts and claimed the footage had not been edited “in a manner that misleads or changes the reporting”.

Facebook said in a statement: “We have removed this content following a valid intellectual property claim from the rights holder, the BBC.

“Whenever we receive valid IP claims against content on the platform, in advertising or elsewhere, we act in accordance with our policies and take action as required.”

One of the adverts included an edited clip of Laura Kuenssberg, the BBC’s political editor, saying the phrase ”pointless delay to Brexit”. She was followed by newsreader Huw Edwards stating: “Another Brexit delay.”

It was captioned: “A hung parliament = gridlock. Stop the chaos. Vote Conservative.”

Huw Edwards responded to the removal of the advert with the comment: “Good. My thoughts on this kind of stunt are unprintable.”

According to the Facebook ad library, one version of the now-deleted ad – which started running on 28 November – made between 300,000 and 400,000 impressions on the website at a cost of up to £7,000.

The Conservative Party has spent more than £35,600 on Facebook adverts in the last week, and more than £421,000 since October 2018.

Last month the Tories were also accused of misleading voters after the party’s press office rebranded its Twitter account as ‘factcheckUK’ during a TV election debate.

Google has banned eight different accounts paid for by the Conservatives over the last month.

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