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Twitter warns Tories after rebranding official account as 'factcheckUK'

Image credit: Twitter

Twitter warns Tories after rebranding official account as 'factcheckUK'

Twitter has threatened to take "decisive action" against the Conservatives if they repeat a move to re-brand an official party account as “factcheckUK”.

The switch from @CCHQPress was made at the start of the head-to-head TV debate between Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn, then changed back immediately after.

Throughout the televised clash, a series of tweets were posted from the account challenging claims made by the Labour leader.

And at the end, it declared that the "factcheckUK verdict" was that Johnson had won.

In a statement criticising the Tories, the social media giant said it was "committed to facilitating healthy debate throughout the UK general election".

A spokesperson added: "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."

Labour’s Barry Gardiner meanwhile said the public regard the Tories as “dodgy” and added: “This latest scam to try and present themselves as a fact checking organisation just proves it."

A Labour spokesperson said: "The Conservatives' laughable attempt to dupe those watching the ITV debate by renaming their twitter account shows you can't trust a word they say."

Lib Dem Tom Brake said: "This is straight out of Donald Trump or Putin’s playbook. Not content with excluding the voice of Remain from this debate, the Tories are now resorting to deliberately misleading the public.

"People know they can't trust a word that Boris Johnson or the Conservatives say."

The independent fact-checking charity FullFact also condemned the decision, saying: “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.”

But a senior Conservative source defended the "entirely appropriate" decision, saying "it was needed to fact check" Corbyn's claims.

Tory chairman James Cleverly said they had made it “absolutely clear it is a Conservative Party website”.

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