Now Labour wants Big Tech to ban the Tories

Labour is calling on Twitter to punish the Tories for misinformation – this is sinister.

Fraser Myers

Fraser Myers
Staff writer

The biggest fallout from ITV’s General Election debate last night has nothing to do with the uninspiring dirge coming from the two leaders. Instead, it is the Tories’ Twitter account which has broken the internet.

During the debate, the Twitter account of the Conservative Campaign Headquarters (CCHQ) changed its name to ‘factcheckUK’.

Deviously disguised as a fact-checking service, the account pushed out Tory attack lines against Jeremy Corbyn.

One of these dubious ‘facts’ was that Boris Johnson was the ‘clear winner’ of the debate.

The ruse was quickly exposed and was widely denounced. As it should have been. This was a stupid thing for the Tories to do.

But for Labour, exposing the truth of the matter was not enough. Shadow equalities minister Dawn Butler complained that Twitter had not done enough to punish the Conservatives. Speaking on Radio 4’s Today programme, she called on Twitter to ban the Tories’ account: ‘They could have just suspended the account and taken it down. To me, that would have been the better punishment.’

Butler also suggested that Twitter could have forcibly ‘renamed the account’ or removed the Conservatives’ ‘blue tick’ (Twitter’s certification of verified accounts).

Let’s be clear about what is being demanded here. The Labour Party is calling on Twitter – an American tech giant – to intervene in the UK’s General Election to punish a rival party. It wants unaccountable Silicon Valley capitalists to determine the truth on behalf of the British people, whether by removing the Tory account’s verification or by censoring it entirely.

Labour’s call for corporations to censor political parties is far more sinister – and a far greater threat to democracy – than the Tories’ dirty tricks. And we are expected to trust a Labour government to control broadband access? No thanks.

Fraser Myers is a staff writer at spiked and host of the spiked podcast. Follow him on Twitter: @FraserMyers.

Picture by: Getty

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Brian Jordan

23rd November 2019 at 10:54 am

Definitely Orwellian: two kind of jokes.
Twitter relabels bad, battery acid remarks good.

George Orwell

21st November 2019 at 8:30 pm

The letters CCHQ were prominently displayed in several locations. There was nothing inappropriate or unlawful at all.
I saw it as a sarcastic nod to Labour’s own attempts at misinformation and was not misled at all.

steve moxon

21st November 2019 at 2:30 pm

It’s hard to tell which is the more farcical: ‘fact checking’ (ha!) or Twitter?
Tawdry HQ evidently was taking the pee out of both — and very transparently: the tag included ‘CCHQ’.
Cheeky farts on Twatter are for those with a near zero attention span.

Janet Mozelewski

20th November 2019 at 7:40 pm

Oh please. Stop ascribing importance to the nonsense on Twitter. I cannot fathom how supposedly mature adults take any notice whatsoever of something that is called that. Surely the clue is in the name? I remember when it first started up. One could write an intelligent letter to the BBC etc and it would never be read…but ‘tweet’ something inane and it was instantly elevated to something important to be read out. The content was immaterial as long as it was sent to them by the miracle of Twitter. Ridiculous of course.
Only people with too much time on their hands take any notice of it at all….most people of my acquaintance have to work for a living and after an initial foray gave up on it long ago and left the lefties, rabid activists and students to talk amongst themselves.
If the Tories took the piss out of it, or more precisely, the media’s preoccupation with it, then so what? About all it’s fit for.
The MSM in general, along of course with the twits writing this codswallop themselves, have spent several years now being surprised and shocked because reality hasn’t followed twitter trends. One of the main reasons pundits have been so abject at predicting results.

Jim Lawrie

20th November 2019 at 8:34 pm

I agree with what you say but the the rewording of these messages is a problem. “He … said on twitter … ” gives a semblance of reference and credence.
I occasionally read it for verification. The variance between the reporting of what is said, and the actual, amounts to lies. It is for the dishonest who purvey to the lazy and the shallow.

If those, like Labour, who endlessly call for bans were to be given their wish, they would just go elsewhere to howl their faux outrage, which in itself is tailored to Twitter.

Kathryn Barbara

20th November 2019 at 5:32 pm

These Twitter storms are so not important. Just something for the chattering classes to declaim in the “outrage cycle”. To quote a term used by Trump Jnr!

Jim Lawrie

20th November 2019 at 3:43 pm

“The ruse was quickly exposed”. No Mr Myers. It was a spoof. In order to miss the tongue in cheek levity of it all, you would have to take yourself so seriously as to have eliminated all trace of humour.

charles cawley

20th November 2019 at 3:05 pm

The row over Torys using ‘Fact Check’ is telling. Voters decide who to trust, no one else. The Torys did what the BBC and other MSM have done, making what some would consider ludicrous claims to be arbiters of truth. MSM and labour complain because it highlights their own arrogant, manipulative dishonesty.

Ven Oods

20th November 2019 at 1:51 pm

Someone could perhaps fact-check whether what was shown deserved to be called a ‘debate’.
I’d have thought shitshow was closer. And the joke is that Swinson was outraged to be excluded.

James McParland

20th November 2019 at 12:59 pm

How long have labour, the democrats in America and the majority of leftist parties used spiteful and dirty underhand tactics, making up accusations of Russian hacking, impeachment enquires or false rape accusations while the right just stands there and takes it? Now the shoe is on the other foot with Trump using his art of the deal tactics, Conservatives calling labour communists and using disguised fact checking site on twitter it is suddenly an outrage. In an ideal world people deserve none of this but as the saying goes you have to fight fire with fire and hopefully something will finally give to help restore some form of order.

Phil Ford

20th November 2019 at 12:53 pm

Yeah, about that: it was a joke. The BBC and the leftist media, in general, are beside themselves with outrage. The joke worked.

Matt Ryan

20th November 2019 at 12:35 pm

I see that come of the criticism is about them claiming to be Fact Checking which may impact the public perception of “real” fact checking sites.

However, let’s face it, many of those who claim to check facts (including the BBC) have biases by only checking facts they disagree with. It’s lying by omission – they should also fact check things they agree with as well.

So in reality, all these fact check sites are still based on opinion.

steve moxon

21st November 2019 at 2:24 pm


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