Voters in marginal constituencies targeted by dirty Tory ‘dark’ adverts

The lying Tory advert that appeared on Facebook pages in Delyn. There is no Labour ‘Death Tax’ and Labour will not raise tax on UK families as described here. Your family’s economic security is in far more danger if you vote Conservative.

The Conservatives have found another way to cheat national election spending limits – on Facebook, it seems.

They have been using Facebook’s advertising system, which demands that users ‘bid’ for the limited number of slots available, to drown out others and force ‘dark’ adverts, filled with lies, on readers.

There is no regulation of this behaviour.

Delyn, where the Tories’ dirty trick was discovered, is a marginal constituency held by Labour’s David Hanson – but he will lose it if there is a swing of just 3.9 per cent to the Conservatives.

And the Tories are feeding Delyn Facebook users lies about a nonexistent ‘Death Tax’ (fabricated in an Express article), and about Labour increasing taxes for everybody (in fact, 95 per cent of earners will not be affected; only the top five per cent would have to pay more).

What about your constituency? Are you seeing Tory ‘dark’ ads instead of something useful? Bear in mind that in Delyn, they drowned out a voter registration drive – and we all know the Tories didn’t want people to register to vote, especially the young.

Dirty Tories. Don’t trust them or their ‘dark’ ads.

One of the anti-Labour ‘attack’ ads posted on Facebook by the Conservatives, focusing on the Delyn marginal constituency [Image: Facebook].

The Observer has obtained a series of Conservative party attack ads sent to voters last week in the key marginal constituency of Delyn, north Wales. Activists captured the ads using dummy Facebook accounts after finding that their own ad – encouraging young people to register to vote – were being “drowned out” by the Tory ads.

The Conservatives have refused to supply examples of adverts the party is sending to individual voters on Facebook, despite growing concern over unregulated online election activity.

Charlotte Gerada, who works for a charity, told the Observer that she and a friend had raised £13,000 in a few days with the idea of increasing the turnout among 18- to 25-year-olds in key marginals.

“Initially our adverts in Delyn were both our cheapest and our best-performing. But the day before the voter registration deadline, the price of the ads shot up. We had been paying around £1.08 a click before and it spiked to more than double that. At one point it was up to £3.40 a click. The way that Facebook ads work is that you ‘bid’ for the slots… so if the price shoots up, it means someone else is bidding against you for the same slot.”

Quentin Johns, a Facebook marketer who was advising the campaign, told them to set up dummy accounts with the same profile and geographic location of the voters they were targeting to try to figure out who was competing against them. In Delyn, they discovered ads from the Conservative party were being displayed in place of theirs.

Source: Revealed: Tory ‘dark’ ads targeted voters’ Facebook feeds in Welsh marginal seat | Politics | The Guardian

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15 thoughts on “Voters in marginal constituencies targeted by dirty Tory ‘dark’ adverts

  1. Barry Davies

    Not seen any of these “adverts”,but received wisdom is that it works better to promote your own policies rather than attacking he oppositions, so they will most likely backfire, especially with the wrongly named dementia tax stuff floating about.

  2. NMac

    The nasty, corrupt, fraudulent Tories are getting desperate. Theresa May is looking muddled, nasty and bitter. Jeremy Corbyn is calm, clear and looking like a real leader.

  3. Ross

    I know for a fact (the source was directly involved in coordinating this activity) that in many constituencies the Conservatives had their Facebook and Twitter marketing activities run through the accounts of local party activists. These activists use their own credit card details to cover the billing, and are then reimbursed by the national party for ‘services’.

  4. Florence

    Is this going to back fire? One suspects that the FB users in the marginals are as sophisticated as any, and the many have already shown scant regard for the dalek “strong and stable” as the plummeting polls have shown. These ads may be drowning out the competition, and that needs to be investigated, but in themselves these ads are simply crass push advertising that many dislike on FB already. Telling blatant lies isn’t going to fool anyone.

  5. Alan Cant

    These chinless inbred sociopaths could wear their top hats and still walk under a rattle snakes belly their that Low.

  6. gerard choo

    Isn’t it an offence under the Representation of the Peoples’ Act to lie about your opponents? any lawyers reading this comment please? thanks

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      It’s an offence to lie about their personal character and/or behaviour. The statements here related to political policies.
      I know a bit about this because I’m currently struggling to get the police to prosecute people who have committed the offence you mention, under s.106 of the Representation of the People Act, 1983.

  7. hugosmum70

    knew they would try something. its never ending. using their money to overshadow and lie to the electorate like this. they are without any quarms at all. only hope people see through their adverts etc.

  8. Jim

    I wonder if Youtube have a similar ad system in place?

    Watching Youtube on my TV & games console, this is the only political ad I’ve noticed in the past few weeks. It appeared six times in a row once, too.
    I laughed the first time it popped up but by the third or fourth time really did want to throw something at the TV!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=99jclQAOT7I

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Please tell me you don’t use an ad blocker on This Site – you would be denying me my income.

  9. hugosmum70

    tell you another thing. im sick of the amount of letters/leaflets etc im getting from the conservatives. had only 1 from lib dem. a few from labour but nothing like the numbers from the cons. amounts between 3 and 5 a week. to me thats against marketting laws isnt it?> its harrassment by leaflet. (dont know if there are any laws against that but im, sick of it. they go straight in the rubbish bin./ (i refuse to recycle them)

Comments are closed.