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The Conservatives and factcheckUK: Using Twitter to Spread Disinformation

A poorly conceived PR stunt, an attempt to mislead the public, or a Machiavellian plan to position Tory MP’s front and centre of the news agenda? Whatever your opinion on the Conservatives’ decision to temporarily rebrand its CCHQ Press Twitter account to ‘factcheckUK’ for the ITV leaders’ debate, it will certainly be remembered as a watershed moment in PR and communications for years to come.

Changing CCHQ Press to factcheckUK

The rebrand – which took place without any prior warning – replaced every single mention of the Conservatives from the CCHQ Press account’s bio and visuals with never before seen factcheckUK branding. This mimicked the appearance of legitimate fact-checking organisations, such as Fullfact and Channel 4’s Factcheck (can you see where they got their inspiration from?).

Under this guise, the Conservatives presented claims made by its leader Boris Johnson as ‘facts’ whilst dismissing Jeremy Corbyn’s remarks as ‘lies’ before brazenly declaring Johnson as the ‘clear winner’ of the head to head debate. It then, amongst a public outcry, rather conveniently changed its account back to CCHQ Press following the debate's conclusion.

Spreading disinformation

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