How fake news is influencing the UK election | FT


BORIS JOHNSON: The
stakes for this country have seldom been higher, and the
choice has never been starker. WILL MOY: We’re monitoring
the election pretty comprehensively. We’re monitoring TV,
we’re monitoring online, we’re monitoring the
news debates, manifestos. The where we stopped and
were really surprised was when the
conservative party chose to masquerade as an
independent fact checker during the first TV debate. That was a clear
choice to make, and I think is a choice– a
step to cross a line. JEMIMA KELLY: It
also just shows us the level of aggression in
the Tories’ current strategy. They then tweeted
things as if they were facts throughout the
debate against Jeremy Corbyn, and at the end, pronounced
Boris Johnson the winner. Either they were
trying to fool people, or they were trying
to get a reaction, making what they’d done
go even more viral, because that’s one
of the strategies. WILL MOY: I think we’re seeing
quite aggressive campaigning from all the political parties. Fairly consistent
misrepresentation by political parties of other political
parties’ positions. JEMIMA KELLY: The
internet allows you to doctor videos
and other content to make it seem like
something has been said or something has been done
that actually isn’t true. PIERS MORGAN: Why would
the EU give you a good deal if they know that
you’re going to actively campaign against it? WILL MOY: To see a
political party manipulate a video of its opponent
giving an interview to make it look
like, in this case, Keir Starmer had no
answer to a question, which he actually managed
to answer in that interview, was a very surprising thing. JEMIMA KELLY: And
clearly, they had used a shot of him waiting
to answer a question, and then put it after
the question was asked. It was a deliberate ploy to make
it look like Labour’s Brexit minister didn’t know what
he was talking about. WILL MOY: That is a sort of
classic disinformation tactic. It’s not the sort
of thing you expect in a responsible
democratic election. We haven’t seen the Labour
party manipulating videos. We haven’t seen the Labour
party impersonating journalists in their election
communications. JEREMY CORBYN: 451 pages
of unredacted documents and information. WILL MOY: What we have
seen is aggressive examples of them trying to misrepresent
the position of other parties, certainly in the view
of other parties. Labour is claiming that the
Tories are going to do a trade deal with the US that will
cost the NHS 500 million pounds a week. That’s an extraordinarily
large amount of money. That’s equivalent
to about a fifth of what we spend on health. The US would have to do a
trade deal with us, where UK drugs costs go up 2.5 times
to match what is currently paid in the US, and
the British government would have to be
willing to absorb extra costs of about 27 billion
pounds to the public purse. That’s a pretty
extraordinary claim, based on a very
extreme scenario. We think it’s unrealistic. Labour are, nonetheless,
repeating it heavily to their voters. WOMAN: You need to vote
for the Liberal Democrats. WILL MOY: Both the
liberal Democrat party and for conservative
party have been creating campaign leaflets that
are dressed up to look as if their local newspapers. We think that’s misleading. We think it’s trespassing on
independent journalism, which is vital in an
election campaign. And we think it’s inappropriate
for political parties to do that. WOMAN: We deserve
better than what– WILL MOY: There was a
tactic from the Lib Dems we’ve seen repeatedly in
local constituencies, which is bar charts of who can win here. This sort of claim
that we’re second or we’re on the verge of winning
possibly the most far fetched we’ve seen so far was using
the results of a recent police and crime commissioner
election as if it was some guide
to how people will vote in the general election. To put that in context,
15% of people in that area had voted for the police
and crime commissioner, and a general election
turnout we would expect to be nearer 70% or 80%. So it’s no guide whatsoever. JEMIMA KELLY: The
spotlight is on the Tories. I think they have taken a
more aggressive strategy. If you look at some of their
Facebook ads, a lot of them are targeting Jeremy Corbyn,
fear based messaging in order to make people worried about
what a Jeremy Corbyn led government would be like. WILL MOY: If the most common
tactic we’ve seen from Labour in this election is to look
at what might happen in trade negotiations with the US,
take the worst case scenario, and then tell that story
as vividly as they can. The most common tactic we
saw from the conservatives, particularly early
in this election, was to imagine what
Labour might do, despite the fact that
they haven’t published their manifesto,
make something up, and then say it’s going
to cost you a fortune. They came up with essentially
a completely false number, and then they got wall to
wall coverage of it for a day. And journalists who are
trying to honestly report on the campaign are in
danger of being used to spread false information. JEMIMA KELLY: The Tories
launched a website called labourmanifesto.co.uk And so if
you were to search Labour just before the launch
of the manifesto, the top result would be this
fake Tory website called labourmanifesto.co.uk. WILL MOY: They were
buying online adverts to get to the top. There’s a lot of
spend going into that. And there’s not a lot of
scrutiny about spending. JEMIMA KELLY: Google have said
that they’re no longer going to allow political adverts that
are targeted based on someone’s supposed political leanings,
but they are obviously still allowing this
kind of thing that can manipulate potential voters. WILL MOY: Elections
are fought and won based on thin margins
in many places, and it will be a relatively
small number of constituencies and a relatively small number
of votes that determine the outcome of this election. If some of those votes
are retained by deception, then we have a problem. JEMIMA KELLY: Yes,
digital strategy will have an impact on
the election outcome. MARK ZUCKERBERG: Even if we
wanted to ban political ads, it’s not even clear
where you draw the line. JEMIMA KELLY: Facebook makes
huge majority of its revenues from advertising. So if it was to stop all
political advertising, as a lot of people are
saying it should do, that would massively
dent its revenues. The impetus is not going
to come from big tech, it’s probably not going
to come from government. The impetus is
probably going to have to come from some sort
of external pressure, whether that be campaign groups
or just the general public. WILL MOY: And we have had
almost two decades of warnings from the electoral
commission and others that our election
laws are out of date. That principals that are long
established in our election law, like campaigning
materials should be transparent and should say who
they come from, although they apply
offline, do not apply online, simply because we
haven’t updated election laws. We need to do that. We need to do it urgently.




Comments
  1. Boris Johnson thinks he would win a majority, his party can't rule without it in UK..if he wins it it would lose Scotland therefore Torry party it's a lose/lose.

  2. So fair comment by the Labour Party, and lies by the others, honestly, and it goes against, Corbyn and co are the only ones showing any integrity

  3. A vote for the Tories means you believe that these dishonest and dishonourable tactics are acceptable. This goes beyond partisan divide; there must be some standards to be upheld.

  4. The success of these misinformation campaigns by the Conservative Party and the Republican Party in US means the failure of English language journalism. Misinformation and lies must be called out by journalist because people are too lazy to look into it themselves.

  5. I think drawing an equivalence between what labour have done in in this election and what the conservative have done is probably as misleading as anything the Labour party have done.

    Arguing about the costing of policies is how politics have been done for decades and if the Conservatives want to argue the individual point they can release their own projections for what opening up NHS drugs markets to US pharmaceutical companies will cost (they haven't), Labour suggesting that the NHS might have to pay the same rate for drugs as US firms is at the upper end of estimates for the pricing policies but isn't a lie.

  6. Bar charts and newspaper styled leaflets is old news, every party does it in defending / targeting seats. Whether that is illegal or immoral? Don't know, used to it now, but the online issues (changing twitter for a live TV appearance, fake websites) particularly by the tories is a big difference this time.

  7. I still remember Boris Johnson fake News about those Kippers, and it being a EU rule.

    Instead it was a British Rule they themselves made.

  8. I hate to say it, but we need enforceable laws regarding the "facts" used by parties in political debate, and advertising, (manifesto's as well for that matter). Particularly, "numbers" should be backed up with sources that clearly reveal how an estimate was arrived at, and who produced/funded the research the number comes from. No source? Can't use it.

    In an ideal world, we could have a system like drug testing in the olympics. You win a gold medal, but then test positive? Hand the medal back, and 2nd place gets it. You won an election campaign based on facts that turn out to be blatent lies? Hand back the keys to nos. 10, and 2nd place gets them.

  9. The Tory tactic is exactly the same as the Vote Leave Facebook campaign for the referendum, because Dominic Cummings and Boris lying Johnson are the common factor. This time as well as having all the personal data illegally obtained by Cambridge Analytica, and clearly not destroyed, Dominic Cummings has access to government personal data on all of the U.K. population.

  10. I hope we can all agree, regardless of our political orientation or our views on the EU, that Full Fact is an organisation we can fully trust. I certainly do.

  11. 2.40 re drug costs: insulin in UK for type 1 diabetes costs on average $125 a year, in US it is $5700 on average on top of your expensive premiums. I do not call this (1) 2.5x higher and (2) Unrealistic. FT just faked a well known fact. Google it, don't take the FTs word for it. FT must know this, 2.5x higher drug prices was plucked out of thin air. Disgraceful given the title of this clip

  12. The Tories did masquerade as a fact checking site but so did the Labour Party but nothing is said about that. Ask yourself who pays this man.

  13. Don’t know how much this person is being paid but I’ll take his job because he has a strange looking mouth and mine isn’t strange looking so I’ll have his wage thank you very much

  14. Now there’s a thing I have certain rules the first rule is I don’t believe nothing the government tells me nothing you have a nice day?

  15. I'd like to know from Google why they think a website called "labourmanifesto dot co dot uk" which will hoodwink people legitimately searching for that information should be legal. It makes Google part of the scam – are they ok with that?

  16. I hope not.
    I have changed my mind for Putin but if he does support Boris he will get temporary gain but for long term Tory is Putins Enemy.
    But I’m certain Putin will help Boris Win as he has the power! for Brexit of course. Also the Boris links to lie , crime and fraud.
    I will not blame Putin.
    I’m a big fan of Putin after the Hong Kong Issue that means I’m against America!!!
    And my own government that excludes Corbin only but not any of the party that exists in Uk including Labour!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *