Twitter threatens 'corrective action' against Boris Johnson's Conservatives party after it created a fake fact-checking service

In this photo issued by ITV, Jeremy Corbyn, right, and Boris Johnson, during the election head-to-head debate live on TV, in Salford, Manchester, England, Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and leader of the opposition Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn are set to go head-to-head in their first live televised debate Tuesday evening, as the UK prepares for a General Election on Dec. 12. (ITV via AP)In this photo issued by ITV, Jeremy Corbyn, right, and Boris Johnson, during the election head-to-head debate live on TV, in Salford, Manchester, England, Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and leader of the opposition Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn are set to go head-to-head in their first live televised debate Tuesday evening, as the UK prepares for a General Election on Dec. 12. (ITV via AP)Associated Press

  • Twitter says it will take 'corrective action' if the Conservatives repeat a campaign stunt which saw them change the name of one of its Twitter accounts to look like a fact-checking service.
  • A verified Conservative Party account rebranded 'factcheckUK' during a debate between Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, pushing out pro-Conservative messaging and making widely contested claims about Labour which it called 'facts.'
  • Twitter said in a statement: '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.'
  • Full Fact, a genuine fact-checking charity, said: '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.'

Twitter has threatened to take "corrective action" against Boris Johnson's Conservative Party after the party rebranded one of its official Twitter accounts as an independent fact-checking service during the first televised general election debate.

The party changed its @CCHQPress account into what appeared to be an independent fact-checking service covering the TV clash between Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Conservative leader Boris Johnson.

FactCheckUKTwitter

With a white tick logo on a purple background, the branding obscured the account's links to the Tory party. The rebranded account then tweeted untrue "facts," including a claim that Labour's spending plans would cost £1.2 trillion, which has already been debunked by genuine fact-checking services.

FactCheckUKTwitter

They also declared that Johnson had won the debate, despite polling showing that more viewers believed that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn had performed well than the prime minister, and were split down the middle on which candidate had won.

Twitter said that the Conservative Party had misled the public and warned that it would take "corrective action" if the party repeated the stunt.

"We have global rules in place that prohibit behaviour that can mislead people, including those with verified accounts," a spokesperson said.

FactCheckUKTwitter

"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."

FullFact, a fact-checking charity, said: "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."

Labour said it was a "scam" and showed the Conservatives could not be trusted in government.

Conservative Party chairman James Cleverly defended the move on Tuesday. "We made it absolutely clear it is a Conservative Party website ... checking the claims" of Corbyn, he said.

The account reverted back to its original branding once the debate had finished.

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