Manipulating the Media: Are the Tory Parties Digital Campaign Tactics Ethical?

As the General Election approaches, the Tory and Labour Parties are campaigning for the coveted position as Prime Minister. I don’t claim to be an expert in British Politics, but have been following some of the recent activity in the debates and on Twitter. And I have to say what have I seen is somewhat reminiscent of tactics I saw in the lead of to Trump’s Presidency. I mean we aren’t quite at a Cambridge Analytica level scandal just yet. But what I have seen so far is media manipulation tactics verging on fake news. Trying to trick the public over social media. So let’s go over what’s been happening:

Fact Check UK

During a TV Election Debate – The Conservative Press Office Twitter account which boasts 75,000 followers, changed it’s name to Fact Check UK before tweeting in support of Boris Johnson. The chief executive of the independent fact-checking charity Full Fact also condemned the Conservatives stating; “It was an attempt to mislead voters and I think it is inappropriate and misleading for a serious political party to behave that way,”

Twitter warned the Tories not to repeat the stunt, saying: “Any further attempts to mislead people by editing verified profile information – in a manner seen during the UK election debate – will result in decisive corrective action.”

Fake Labour Manifesto

In the second scandal of the week Labour published their Manifesto online, but it wasn’t without obstruction from the Conservatives who set up a fake website which was said to be containing the Manifesto. The Tory party paid Google to promote it’s website up the search rankings in order to mislead the general public. The website brings up a webpage which contains details of why Jeremy Corbyn won’t succeed in his plans for the UK.

Both these tactics are examples of Conservative Party Propaganda Techniques in the Digital Age. But are these underhand tactics ethical? In my opinion no, not all. I think we are seeing a change in UK Politics to become closer to our US Counterparts, and I think social media can be so deceiving. Whilst social media is a great tool for campaigning during elections and can be an amazing way for way for young people to engage with politics. However, the tactics employed by the Tory party have been employed to trick the public into voting a particular way.

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