Twitter Warns Tories Over Twitter Name Change

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Twitter to take no further action, after it said Tories misled the public when press office changed name during TV debate

The Conservative Party has been reprimanded by Twitter, saying it had misled the public when it rebranded one of its Twitter accounts.

The @CCHQPress account, which is the Tory press office, was renamed “factcheckUK” during the TV debate between Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn.

The account name reverted back to @CCHQPress account after the debate was over.

boris johnson mayor of London © landmarkmedia Shutterstock

Name change

Twitter told the BBC it would take “decisive corrective action” if a similar stunt was attempted again.

But that seems to be the extent of Twitter’s action on the matter. It does have the power to remove remove an account’s ‘verified’ status if the account owner is said to be “intentionally misleading people on Twitter by changing one’s display name or bio”

“Twitter is committed to facilitating healthy debate throughout the UK general election,” a spokesperson reportedly 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.”

However the Conservative Party defended the rebranding.

“The Twitter handle of the CCHQ press office remained CCHQPress, so it’s clear the nature of the site,” Conservative chairman James Cleverly told BBC Newsnight.

Cleverly added the decision to rebrand the account would have been made by the party’s digital team, which he said operated within his remit.

He reportedly said he was “absolutely comfortable” with the party “calling out when the Labour Party put what they know to be complete fabrications in the public domain.”

“The Conservatives’ laughable attempt to dupe those watching the #ITVDebate by renaming their twitter account shows you can’t trust a word they say,” tweeted the Labour Party.

Earlier this year the European Commission urged Facebook, Google and Twitter to share data about “fake accounts” with independent third party experts and researchers, in order to stop the spread of disinformation on social networking platforms.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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