Ian Payne 4am - 7am
Rebrand of Tory Twitter account 'inappropriate', charity says
20 November 2019, 10:03
The Conservative Party has faced criticism and calls for an investigation after one of its official Twitter accounts was rebranded as a fact-checking service during the ITV leaders' debate.
The Conservative Campaign Headquarters press office account was renamed "factcheckUK" during Tuesday evening's ITV broadcast, offering commentary on Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn's statements and retweeting messages supporting Boris Johnson.
The move was criticised by independent fact-checking charity Full Fact, which tweeted: "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 @FactCheckNI"
The chief executive of the fact-checking charity, Will Moy, has said Twitter "could have acted sooner" after the Conservative Party renamed their account FactCheckUK during last night's leaders' debate.
Speaking to the BBC, Mr Moy said: "It was an attempt to mislead voters and I think it is inappropriate and misleading for a serious political party to behave that way.
"And it's surprising as well. Why would a self-respecting political party choose to impersonate something else to put its campaign messages out there?"
Labour candidate David Lammy wrote online: "The Conservative Party press office rebranding themselves as "FactCheckUK" shows what disdain this party and this government has for the truth.
"The Electoral Commission must investigate and punish this blatant attempt to deceive the public."
The @CCHQpress account is verified by Twitter, displaying a blue tick which is intended to denote that a user is genuine.
The Liberal Democrat press office posted an image suggesting they were reporting the account to Twitter for "pretending to be me or someone else".
They tweeted: "And people wonder why trust in politics has been eroded @CCHQPress"
Labour's David Lammy tweeted: "The Conservative Party press office @CCHQPress rebranding themselves as 'FactCheckUK' shows what disdain this party and this government has for the truth."
"The Electoral Commission must investigate and punish this blatant attempt to decieve the public."
Meanwhile, some other Twitter users also changed their display names to factcheckUK and posted critical comments about Mr Johnson.
Others changed their display name CCHQ Press Office, while Tony Blair's former spokesperson Alastair Campbell changed his display name to Boris Johnson and tweeted: "I won't get Brexit done #FactCheck"
The Twitter display name was changed back to CCHQ Press shortly after the debate ended. The Conservative Party has been contacted for comment.