Types of misinformation during the UK election

Monitoring online conversations revealed a serious problem with the sharing of misleading campaign information

First Draft
Jun 23, 2017 · 8 min read
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1.) Misleading headlines in mainstream newspapers

We found numerous examples of mainstream publications publishing misleading stories.

2.) Exaggeration and misinformation by the hyper-partisan press

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We were featured in The Guardian debunking this story and revealing the site’s links to the satirical website Southend News Network.

3) Hyper-partisan websites attacking the mainstream media

In addition to publishing misinformation, many hyper-partisan websites accused mainstream news sources of heavy bias, misleading reporting and outright fabrication.

4) Official political party pages bending the facts

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Corbyn’s comments about the Costa Rican army were reduced to a three word quote.

5) False rumours that got traction before being flagged as false by us or others

We occasionally saw rumours beginning to spread on social media and then being taken up by online influencers once they started to gain momentum. These types of rumours were also often spread even further by hyper-partisan websites and did very well with their target audiences.

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An altered screengrab attempted to encourage Conservative and UKIP supporters to vote on Friday June 9, after polls would have closed.

Conclusion

The misleading use of headlines, images and statistics has always been an element of a partisan press. Although many politicians and journalists use facts and statistics well to make their case, there are also many examples of facts being stretched to or beyond the breaking point. But what was noticeably different during this election, was the rise of the hyper-partisan blogs and their Facebook pages, which were highly effective at spreading false and misleading information. They sometimes got thousands of shares, competing with content from the mainstream media. While there was no sudden influx of websites specifically devoted to spreading disinformation throughout the campaign, many false stories were published the hyper-partisan press from unfounded social media posts.

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First Draft Footnotes

We work to protect communities around the world from harmful information.

First Draft

Written by

We work to protect communities across the world from harmful information.

First Draft Footnotes

We work to protect communities from harmful information, sharing tips and resources to build resilience and improve access to accurate information.

First Draft

Written by

We work to protect communities across the world from harmful information.

First Draft Footnotes

We work to protect communities from harmful information, sharing tips and resources to build resilience and improve access to accurate information.

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