Full Fact, a genuine fact checking agency 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 such as FullFact, FactCheck or FaceCheckNI.”
A spokesman for Twitter said: “Twitter is committed to facilitating healthy debate throughout the UK general election. We have global rules in place that prohibit behaviour 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.”
Conservative Party chairman, James Cleverly staunchly defended the behaviour of the party’s digital team, who are within his remit, saying he was “absolutely comfortable” with the account “calling out…complete fabrications” from the Labour Party.
Speaking to BBC Newsnight he said: “The Twitter handle of the CCHQ press office remained CCHQPress, so it’s clear the nature of the site.”
Both the Labour Party said the behaviour was “laughable” and was evidence their rivals could not be trusted. The Liberal Democrats said the move was “straight out of Donald Trump or Putin’s Playbook”.
Twitter’s rules state that “behaviour that can mislead people”, including accounts that post “intentionally misleading profile information or “misrepresent their affliation”, is prohibited. Potentially the party could face having its account temporarily suspended or be required to make changes to their information. They could even face being banned from the platform entirely.
This latest controversy follows the Tories’ decision a month ago to post a “doctored” video involving Labour’s Sir Kier Starmer, in which he was made to look as if he met a question, posed by ITV’s Piers Morgan with silence. Cleverly said at the time the video was meant to be “light hearted”.