Tory election adverts banned from YouTube amid party's disinformation campaign

Andrew Griffin
Wednesday 04 December 2019 11:54
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Youtube bans Conservatives campaign advert 'Get Brexit done'

Two Tory election videos have been banned from YouTube following complaints from the BBC.

The widely criticised videos took footage of BBC news presenters and edited them to suggest the journalists were agreeing with Conservative propaganda. One video showed a journalist saying the phrase "pointless delay to Brexit", for instance – but the full video made clear that she had been quoting Boris Johnson.

The ads had been seen as many as a million times, according to YouTube's ad library, and the party had spent as much as €30,000 on promoting them.

YouTube did not immediately respond to a request for comment or explanation on why the ads had been removed. Google's ad library tool does not show why the videos have been taken down.

The party maintained the videos did not break advertising rules and said it saw nothing wrong with the ad. It said that the video had not been edited "in a manner that misleads or changes the reporting".

But it has already been removed from Facebook on copyright grounds. The social network did not comment on whether the ad was misleading.

"We have removed this content following a valid intellectual property claim from the rights holder, the BBC," it said when the video was removed at the beginning of the week.

"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."

Newsreader Huw Edwards, who alongside political editor Laura Kuenssberg was one of two BBC journalists featured in the ads, had praised the decision to remove the videos from Facebook on his Twitter feed.

“Good," he wrote. "My thoughts on this kind of stunt are unprintable."

The BBC had complained about the video and suggested they they could "could damage perceptions of our impartiality".

The removal of the videos from YouTube comes just days after parent company Google banned eight different Tory ads from the site. Google did not say why it had removed those ads but its guidelines ban "the promotion of products or services that are designed to enable dishonest behaviour".

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