Tories criticised after rebranding party Twitter account as factcheckUK

Tories criticised after rebranding party Twitter account as factcheckUK

The British Conservative Party has faced criticism after one of its official Twitter accounts was rebranded as a fact checking service during the ITV leaders’ debate.

The Conservative Campaign Headquarters press office account was renamed “factcheckUK” during Tuesday evening’s ITV broadcast, offering commentary on UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s statements and retweeting messages supporting Boris Johnson.

The account offered commentary on Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s answers in the debate (twitter.com/cchqpress)
The account offered commentary on Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s answers in the debate (twitter.com/cchqpress)

The move was criticised by independent fact-checking charity Full Fact, which tweeted: “It is inappropriate and misleading for the Conservative press office to rename their twitter account ‘factcheckUK’ during this debate. Please do not mistake it for an independent fact checking service such as @FullFact, @FactCheck or @FactCheckNI”

The @CCHQpress account is verified by Twitter, displaying a blue tick which is intended to denote that a user is genuine.

The Liberal Democrat press office posted an image suggesting they were reporting the account to Twitter for “pretending to be me or someone else”.

They tweeted: “And people wonder why trust in politics has been eroded @CCHQPress”

Labour’s David Lammy tweeted: “The Conservative Party press office @CCHQPress rebranding themselves as ‘FactCheckUK’ shows what disdain this party and this government has for the truth.”

“The Electoral Commission must investigate and punish this blatant attempt to decieve the public.”

Meanwhile, some other Twitter users also changed their display names to factcheckUK and posted critical comments about Mr Johnson.

Others changed their display name CCHQ Press Office, while Tony Blair’s former spokesperson Alastair Campbell changed his display name to Boris Johnson and tweeted: “I won’t get Brexit done #FactCheck”

The Conservative Party has been contacted for comment.

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