Twitter warns Conservative Party for mock fact-checking TV debate
By Katherine Berjikian
Europe;United Kingdom

CGTN Europe's Phil Lavelle on the TV election debate

The UK's Conservative Party has been criticized after changing its official verified Twitter account name to 'factcheckUK' during the first TV election debate.

Twitter said in a statement: "We have global rules in place that prohibit behavior that can mislead people, including those with verified accounts.

"Any further attempts to mislead people by editing verified profile information - in a manner seen during the UK election debate - will result in decisive corrective action."

During the debate, the Conservative Party's account changed its name and banner to look like an official fact-checking site. They then tweeted rebuttals to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn's statements during the debate.  

Full Fact, an independent fact-checking charity, criticized the Conservative Party's actions in a statement on Twitter. They said: "It is inappropriate and misleading for the Conservative press office to rename their twitter account 'factcheckUK' during this debate. 

Last month, Twitter had announced that they would stop all political advertising on their platform ahead of the UK's general election on 12 December.

The Conservatives' account now has 76,800 followers and is also verified with a blue mark.

UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab was asked about the row during a series of post-debate media interviews on Wednesday.

He said the change was made to make "instant rebuttals" to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn's comments during the debate.

He added: "No-one who looked at it for more than a split second would have been fooled… no-one gives a toss about the social media cut and thrust."

Boris Johnson, cente, faced Labour's Jeremy Corbyn, right (Credit: VCG)

Boris Johnson, cente, faced Labour's Jeremy Corbyn, right (Credit: VCG)

The Electoral Commission, the official body which oversees elections in the UK, said: "Voters are entitled to transparency and integrity from campaigners in the lead up to an election, so they have the information they need to decide for themselves how to vote.

"The Electoral Commission seeks to deliver transparency to the public through the political finance rules; while we do not have a role in regulating election campaign content, we repeat our call to all campaigners to undertake their vital role responsibly and to support campaigning transparency.”

The Conservative Party changed their account back to its original branding shortly after debate finished.

Source(s): AFP ,Reuters