THE CONSERVATIVE PARTY has come under fire under after it rebranded itself as 'factcheckUK' on Twitter during Tuesday evening's leaders' debate.
The move, which has been blasted as "misleading" and "dystopian", saw the @CCHQPress account - a verified account for the Tories' press office - rebranded with the name 'factcheckUK', complete with a new profile picture, header photo and branded videos to give the impression it was an unbiased, third-party organisation.
During Tuesday's live broadcasted headache, the account was used to attack Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and, unsurprisingly, to endorse live-action scarecrow Boris Johnson. Supposed "facts" tweeted by the account include claims that Johnson had negotiated a "great new deal" and "kept his promises on Brexit", and that Corbyn's claim that there will be no deal between Labour and the SNP is a "lie".
After the debate had finished, the CCHQ resumed its original Conservative Party branding as though nothing had happened.
Twitter said it would take "decisive corrective action" if a similar stunt was attempted again, but has decided against taking any action this time - despite the fact it has suspended accounts for far less
"Twitter is committed to facilitating healthy debate throughout the UK general election," a spokesperson said.
"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."
While Twitter is remaining sheepish on the issue, others were quick to slam the Tories' shady move. Legitimate fact-checking organisation Full Fact, for example, told the Guardian that the move was "inappropriate and misleading, and warned users not to mistake the account "for an independent fact-checking service" such as its own.
Charlie Brooker, the writer of dystopian playhouse Black Mirror, tweeted: "We have always been at war with Eastasia", a reference to George Orwell's dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four.
Conservative Party chairman James Cleverly BBC attempted to defend the move on Newsnight, saying that the party had to change the name of the feed, to "call out" Corbyn's views about the NHS.
He told BBC Newsnight: "The Twitter handle of the CCHQ press office remained CCHQPress, so it's clear the nature of the site." µ
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