Google caught Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s party attempting to deceive British voters ahead of the December 12th general election, according to a new report in The Independent.
“Google has banned eight different adverts paid for by the Conservatives over the last month because they broke its rules, The Independent can reveal. The move by the search giant comes amid mounting concerns about the Tories’ use of disinformation and fake news as campaigning tools at the general election,” the newspaper reported.
“Six of the banned adverts were put up by the Tories on the day of the Labour manifesto launch – when the Conservative Party set up a fake website called labourmanifesto.co.uk purporting to contain the opposition’s policies,” the newspaper reported. “During that incident, the Tories paid Google to push its fake version of the Labour manifesto to the top of search results for those searching for the deal document.”
That was not the only deception scheme the party was caught running.
“That incident followed another earlier in the week in which the Tories set up a fake fact-checking service, which they used to pump out party lines from their press office to unsuspecting social media users,” The Independent reported.
Labour Party Chair Ian Lavery blasted the tactics.
“The fact that the Conservatives are resorting to fake news shows that they have no plans or desire to improve the lives of people in Britain,” he charged. “While Labour is running the biggest, people-powered campaign for real change in a generation, the Tories are relying on cynical and dishonest tactics.”
The Google ads did not occur in isolation.
“Other than the Google ads and the fake fact-checking service, the Tories have been criticised for other uses of disinformation or fake news. The latest scandal on Friday erupted after it emerged the party had edited footage of BBC reporters to make it look like they were endorsing Tory attack-lines about a “Brexit delay”. The party was also previously criticised for doctoring a video of Labour Brexit chief Keir Starmer. On another occasion, a candidate in a marginal seat was caught on camera setting up a fake encounter with a swing voter to try and deceive a journalist,” The Independent explained.