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A FORMAL complaint was made to the Conservatives today by library and information association CILIP after the party masqueraded as a Twitter fact-checking service during Tuesday’s TV pre-election debate.
The Conservative Campaign HQ (CCHQ) rebranded its press office account on Twitter to be named factcheckUK during the ITV debate between PM Boris Johnson and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
CILIP told the Tories yesterday: “Your party’s actions in misrepresenting itself as a legitimate fact-checking service cross a line which ought never to be crossed — raising the spectre of state-sponsored misinformation and the deliberate undermining of truth and accountability which should have no place in British politics.
“We should emphasise that our engagement on this issue is not a party-political matter.
“We are therefore submitting this formal complaint on the basis that, in taking this action, your communications team and any party leadership that sanctioned this action are in clear and material breach of your own Conservative Party code of conduct.”
CILIP said that it will escalate the issue to the Electoral Commission if the complaint is disregarded.
The Commission — the official elections watchdog — has already warned the Conservatives over its actions, saying voters are entitled to expect “transparency and integrity.”
Full Fact, which is described as an independent fact-checking service, slammed the move as “misleading” and “inappropriate.”
Twitter also rebuked the Tories, saying that “any further attempts to mislead people” would result in “decisive corrective action.”
Shadow equalities secretary Dawn Butler said it would have been a “better punishment” if Twitter suspended the account once they became aware of what happened.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab claimed that “no one gives a toss” about the Conservatives rebranding their account.
He told BBC Breakfast: “It was pegged to the CCHQ account. No one who looked at it for more than a split second would have been fooled.
“I knock on doors every day. No one gives a toss about the social media cut and thrust. What they care about is the substance of the issues.”
Other senior Tories also brushed off the controversy, saying it was part of their “instant rebuttal” mechanism to challenge Mr Corbyn’s assertions that Mr Johnson is preparing to sell off the NHS to US corporations in a post-Brexit deal.
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