The attempt by the Conservatives to play this off as perfectly reasonable political scrutiny of the opposition is ridiculous, and was a blatant attempt to mislead voters. Combined with the rise of fake news, it’s clear action must be taken to regulate political discourse on social media.
James Cleverly, Conservative Party chairman, has claimed that everyone knew they were still Conservative Campaign HQ (CCHQ) because that remained their twitter handle, but the fact they changed their profile picture and name surely suggests they wanted people to think they were another organisation. After all, could they not have tweeted so-called ‘Fact Checks’ with their old name? Furthermore, tweets by ‘Fact Check UK’ were not legitimate scrutiny but a regurgitation of the party line. A general election campaign needs strict rules: actively misleading voters during a national debate should result in serious consequences for the Conservative Party.
The claim that no-one cares about online electioneering is outrageous
Furthermore, the claim by Dominic Raab that no-one cares about online electioneering is outrageously out of touch with how modern politics works. People often get their news from social media, so it should be regulated in the same way news sites are.
Social media is now firmly part of the political arena, and the electoral commission - as well as companies like Twitter and Facebook - should recognise this and take swift action to control its negative effects. What better time to take this action than during a general election, where so much is at stake?