Monday 9 December 2019

Facebook pulls Conservative Party ads that featured edited BBC footage

Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA
Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA

Jamie Harris

Facebook has taken down Conservative Party UK general election adverts which used edited versions of BBC content.

The corporation told the social network that the adverts infringed on its intellectual property rights, after claiming they could "damage perceptions of our impartiality".

"We have removed this content following a valid intellectual property claim from the rights holder, the BBC," a Facebook spokeswoman said.

"Whenever we receive valid IP claims against content on the platform, in advertising or elsewhere, we act in accordance with our policies and take action as required."

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One of the adverts the BBC was concerned about included an edited clip of BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg saying "pointless delay to Brexit", followed by newsreader Huw Edwards stating "another Brexit delay".

It also used a caption, saying: "A hung parliament = gridlock. Stop the chaos. Vote Conservative."

Mr Edwards welcomed the move, tweeting: "Good. My thoughts on this kind of stunt are unprintable."

A spokesman for the Conservative Party said last week that it was "clear" the footage was "not edited in a manner that misleads or changes the reporting", adding that viewers can "judge for themselves".

The move comes at a challenging time for Facebook, as the tech giant faces pressure to ban political adverts altogether in the midst of a General Election.

It's rival, Twitter, has banned political advertising on its platform, while Google has said it will no longer allow voters to be targeted by advertisers based on their political affiliation.

Last month, the Conservatives edited a video of Labour's Keir Starmer to make him appear unable to answer a question on Brexit.

In the minute-long video which was posted on the party's Twitter account, Mr Starmer was questioned on ITV's Good Morning Britain by Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid over Labour's Brexit policy.

The video ends with Mr Starmer staring at the camera after being asked by Mr Morgan: "Why would the EU give you a good deal if they know you are going to actively campaign against it?"

However, in the original interview Mr Starmer replied to the host.

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