• GE2019 badge
  • Fact Checker badge
Updated on Nov 25, 2019. Posted on Nov 23, 2019

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.

UPDATE: 'Sweary Wayne Bayley' is a fake account. It's fooled quite a few people - myself included. Apologies for this earlier👇 The fake account is followed by key Brexit Party officials locally and nationally. The real Mr @wayne_bayley says he's "delighted" at Mr Farage's plan

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.

Slide One is Boris Johnson, yesterday, laying a wreath upside down on the Cenotaph Slide Two is the footage BBC News are rolling with this morning - bizarrely, it's from 2016.

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.

A video showing Boris Johnson endorsing Jeremy Corbyn for prime minister has landed online. Another shows Corbyn backing Johnson. Confused? Well they’re deep fakes created by @futureadvocacy @CatrinNye goes behind the scenes to see how they are made https://t.co/NHq8Nk1Wrd

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's started. Foreign interference in Britain's election is likely under way and the security & intelligence services need to identify where this came from... https://t.co/8xU2I5UNDd

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.

Confirmed from a Labour source: the DDOS attack came from "a botnet with IPs on every continent." Adds: "We use Cloudflare which soaked up the large majority of the traffic, but the DDOS-protection measures did have some knock-on effects on traffic between systems."

5. Sue Wixley, a Liberal Democrat candidate, was not nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, contrary to the claims on her leaflet.

While Jo Swinson has been busy fantasising about becoming prime minister, a campaign leaflet for the party's Sue Wixley is claiming she won the Nobel Peace Prize. It would be an impressive achievement for the Putney Lib Dem candidate if it was TRUE. https://t.co/uBRgttwZSk

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.

Twitter

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.

Ian Blackford struggled under Nick Robinson’s tough questioning but I now realise the previous tweet on this was edited to make it look worse than it was. This gives a better flavour. I will delete previous and also post whole show so you can see interview in full https://t.co/WUjyQlwdsr

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.

🚨🚨🚨 Corbyn’s Labour would spend £1.2 trillion over the next five years if they get elected - the equivalent of funding the entire NHS budget for nine years. Find out more about Labour's £1,200,000,000,000 spending splurge here 👉 https://t.co/sYoXnIOVuY

Depressingly, despite being based on Labour's 2017 manifesto, this claim was widely covered by the press.

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.

I think The Sun might have confused a top historian with Spiderman @holland_tom @TomHolland1996

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.

Leon Neal / Getty Images

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:

OK, it's been fun. But on TeaGate: a) I was placed on AB's table for the https://t.co/wtmtgd64Xn charity dinner b) We bid £1K in his name for him to have tea with Priti c) She didn't get the money (the charity did) d) No idea if they had tea e) It's a great charity. Donate

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.

Twitter

Journalists — and proper fact-checking organisations — were outraged.

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

Was it 4D chess?

Genius. Now anti-tory accounts Angela Rayner and Indy Politics are sharing pro-Tory graphics.

Pretty soon everyone else rebranded themselves. Twitter told the Tories action would be taken if they tried any similar tricks.

you have to marvel at the fact that there are now so many people taking the piss out of CCHQ they're now able to seamlessly RT each other

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’".

Shocking this Labour Manifesto. £80bn tax rises. £2,400 for every worker. Britain can’t afford the #CostOfCorbyn

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.

Twitter

Then they deleted their tweet, although a version that at least has the correct date is up here.

15. The BBC did not take down a video of Priti Patel because it "went viral".

Priti Patel's callous diatribe against the poor of Barrow and other places went viral. So the BBC took it down. Here it is again 👇🏽 https://t.co/MdbbPj31Rp

They took it down because they misquoted Patel. Then they put it back up.

@AyoCaesar Just to clarify...The text on the original Tweet paraphrased the comments in the video. For clarity, we have removed the quotation marks and reposted the video

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.

Evening Standard

Although the writer of the piece didn't seem very sure about it when a reporter asked. 🤷‍♀️

Just spoke to Lynn Barber... asked if she knew about this correction: “They did phone me and say they were going to have to. I'm not up to speed at all.” Asked if Corbyn said those precise words: “This is what they've been asking me about and I haven't time to check." https://t.co/igyAqxGQdN

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.

Twitter

18. Lily Allen was not crying with joy at the Labour manifesto.

It's a joke using a TikTok filter, ok boomers (and newspapers)?

Christ... 🙈 https://t.co/LuiNwJC3uz

19. This is not the Labour manifesto website.

Conservatives

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.

What fun! Man goes on Question Times and calls Labour liars over the £80k-5% figure. BBC clips up the juicy moment, uploads to Twitter, there’s no fact-checking in the clip, it goes viral. Morning after, BBC Reality Check says he’s wrong…. few dozen retweets.

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.

Alan White is a news editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Alan White at alan.white@buzzfeed.com.

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here