The U.K. Conservative Party press office on Tuesday night changed its Twitter handle to “FactCheckUK” — claiming to be providing a fact-checking service against the policies of the opposition Labour Party.
The move led to immediate derision on Twitter and criticism from genuine fact-checking organizations, and the Twitter handle was soon returned to CCHQ.
As Prime Minister Boris Johnson debated Labours Jeremy Corbyn live on ITV, the Conservative press office retweeted its own MPs and even suggested in a video that the service “FactCheckUK” had deemed Johnson the winner of the debate.
“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,” independent charity Full Fact said in response.
A Full Fact spokesman told POLITICO they had reported it to Twitter, questioning whether @CCHQPress should retain its blue tick status.
The Conservative move came as the two major party leaders took part in their first live clash of the December 12 election campaign, and the first ever debate between just two prime ministerial candidates.
Other responses included singer Lily Allen changing her Twitter description to FATCHEQUEUK to tweet: “About 5 people will do very well off a no deal Brexit, we are being paid by all of them. #LeadersDebate.”
Meanwhile, actor Ralf Little changed his to “Conservative Press nOtffice” with the description “Not a fact checker. Or Conservative Press Office.”