Tories revive fake 'fact-checking' brand to celebrate election victory

Boris Johnson's party appears to mock condemnation of its disinformation spree on social media

Conrad Duncan
Friday 13 December 2019 06:50 GMT
Tory manifesto: Boris flounders he struggles to answer question about FactCheck Twitter feed

The Conservative Party has revived a fake “fact-checking” service to celebrate Boris Johnson’s election victory.

The party’s press office was widely criticised in November when it rebranded its Twitter account as “factcheckUK” during a televised election debate between Mr Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn.

Early on Friday morning, the CCHQ Twitter account posted a video with the factcheckUK logo and the caption: “FACT: @BorisJohnson and @Conservatives the winners of #GeneralElection19”

The move indicates the party will not apologise for its tactics during the election campaign, which involved an unrelenting slew of false claims and misleading promises.

Mr Johnson’s party won the general election with a comfortable majority after taking seats in former Labour heartlands in the North and Midlands.

In November, the fact-checking organisation Full Fact condemned the rebrand as “inappropriate and misleading”.

Twitter said in a statement that the Conservatives had misled the public during the debate and that it would take “decisive corrective action” if a similar stunt was attempted again.

On the morning after the debate, Dominic Raab, the foreign secretary, defended CCHQ’s decision and told the BBC that “no-one gives a toss about social media cut and thrust”.

The row came during a campaign defined by accusations of fake news and misleading information, particularly on social media.

Research by First Draft, a disinformation tracking organisation, found about 88 per cent of the most widely circulated online Tory ads during the first four days of December were misleading.

The organisation said it was not able to find misleading claims by Labour in Facebook adverts over the same period.

A BBC/Sky/ITV exit poll has predicted that the Conservatives will win 368 seats, with Labour on just 191 seats, the SNP on 55 seats and the Liberal Democrats on 13 seats.

Mr Corbyn’s party is expected to record its worst result in terms of seats since 1935.

The Labour leader, who blamed Brexit for the devastating defeat, has announced he will not lead his party into any future general election campaign.

The Liberal Democrats also suffered a disappointing night, with their leader Jo Swinson losing her seat to the SNP by just 149 votes.

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