Here's Even More Misinformation From The 2019 General Election Campaign
Here's even more absolute hogwash from the election.
1. A fake Brexit Party account went viral after claiming it was angry because Nigel Farage had rowed back on the number of candidates the party was putting forward.
People eventually cottoned on to this.
The fake account doubled down, because that's what you do in 2019.
2. #WREATHGATE happened, in which the BBC mistakenly used 2016 footage of Boris Johnson laying a wreath.
The BBC staff attempted to explain how mistakes can happen when using archive software. That did not prevent many, many wild claims to the contrary, suggesting there was a conspiracy.
3. Two deepfakes were created by the think tank Future Advocacy, in which Boris Johnson backed Jeremy Corbyn for prime minister, and Jeremy Corbyn did the reverse.
They were created with the aim of showing how easily reality can be manipulated.
The two videos were shared online, including by BBC reporters, in a format that would make them easy to trim and strip of the context that showed they were deliberate fakes. 🙄
4. Labour was not hit by a "sophisticated" cyberattack as some claimed, and it was unlikely to have been carried out by a foreign power.
It was hit by a "denial of service attack," essentially flooding a site with data, a low-level act of online vandalism. Serious, but not out of the ordinary for large institutions.
5. Sue Wixley, a Liberal Democrat candidate, was not nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, contrary to the claims on her leaflet.
The International Campaign to Ban Landmines was one of the 1997 winners, and she set up a branch of it while working at Oxfam. She would later blame a "proof reading" [sic] error.
6. This fake poll, from a fake polling account, was picked up on by Lib Dem politician Layla Moran as evidence Labour should stand down for the Lib Dems in North East Somerset. She swiftly deleted her tweet and apologised for sharing it.
7. A video of SNP politician Ian Blackford was edited to make it look like he struggled more than he actually did in a BBC interview. The video was posted by a right-wing account and shared by the BBC presenter Andrew Neil, who deleted it and issued an apology.
8. The Tories claimed Labour would spend £1.2 trillion over five years, but the party hadn't even published its spending plans at the time.
The list of proposed costs even included one that the Labour party had already ruled out — the abolition of private schools. And even based on the 2017 figures, there were question marks around how reliable the claims were.
9. Tom Holland, aka Spider-Man, did not condemn Jeremy Corbyn.
A historian by the same name did, and some newspapers got confused. There but for the grace of God, etc.
10. In the aftermath of Brexit campaigner Arron Banks being hacked, a number of fake (and real) messages circulated online.
If caught, the hacker could be prosecuted under the Computer Misuse Act, and journalists and others making use of the messages would have to prove there was a public interest in doing so.
One exchange which was shared involved the Mail on Sunday writer Dan Hodges paying £1,000 for him to have tea with the Tory politician Priti Patel. It was real – however, Hodges offered an innocent explanation:
11. Perhaps the most important one: There is no evidence that Jo Swinson fired stones at squirrels with a slingshot.
Somehow this rather obvious but extremely viral joke meant she ended up on LBC, denying claims of being a squirrel killer, which, however you look at it, is not exactly a PR win. The account that made it got suspended which, given what's to come by way of Twitter lies, is something of an irony.
12. The Tory press Twitter account rebranded as a fact-checking site during the leaders' debate, and it was highly problematic.
Journalists — and proper fact-checking organisations — were outraged.
Was it 4D chess?
Pretty soon everyone else rebranded themselves. Twitter told the Tories action would be taken if they tried any similar tricks.
13. Labour's manifesto would not translate to costs of £2,400 for every worker. It's the same false claim the Tories made before the manifesto. While there will be substantial tax increases, they will largely fall on top earners, and three-quarters of the revenue will come from increasing taxes on companies and their shareholders. However, as the IFS points out, it would be a mistake "to think of this as falling entirely on ‘the rich’".
14. The Tories posted a video of Labour politician Jess Phillips (described as a Corbyn ally, for some reason) talking about how all politicians fail to deliver on their pledges. It was from October, weeks before the Labour manifesto was announced, but they made out that she was talking about its launch.
15. The BBC did not take down a video of Priti Patel because it "went viral".
They took it down because they misquoted Patel. Then they put it back up.
16. Contrary to the original version of this Evening Standard piece, it appears Jeremy Corbyn did not claim, still less "bellow" that there was no antisemitism in Labour, which is not something he has ever claimed before. The piece has been corrected multiple times to reflect this.
Although the writer of the piece didn't seem very sure about it when a reporter asked. 🤷♀️
17. Quoting Twitter polls as an indication of anything other than what people on Twitter think is a bad idea — because people on Twitter are not representative of the general public. So yeah, you might have a bigger sample size, but it's happening in an echo chamber.
18. Lily Allen was not crying with joy at the Labour manifesto.
It's a joke using a TikTok filter, ok boomers (and newspapers)?
19. This is not the Labour manifesto website.
It might have the URL "Labourmanifesto.co.uk”, but it's actually a campaign website set up by the Tories to game Google results.
20. Contrary to Facebook claims, this image does not show Jeremy Corbyn at an IRA funeral.
We debunked it years ago, and Full Fact's more recent debunk means that Facebook has flagged the photo as false to those who try to view it.
21. For some reason, BBC's Question Time decided to upload a clip of an audience member claiming he wasn't in the top 5% of earners when he was, and the clip went hugely viral, being viewed nearly 2 million times.
The man's name and job was reported by newspapers. The BBC's Reality Check service debunked his claims, but this did not appear to cut through on social media. Well done, everyone.