How can we trust politicians’ vows to fight fake news if the culprits are their friends?

Boris Johnson’s forerunner Theresa May told us her government would fight ‘fake news’ – but did little or nothing about it. Now we see one of Mr Johnson’s friends is behind a propaganda network.

Will he do anything to stop it? Doubtful.

And this network, run by former Tory election advisor Lynton Crosby, is on Facebook.

The person in charge of identifying and removing ‘fake news’ from Facebook is former Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg.

Why hasn’t he done anything about it? Is he too busy blocking access to innocent left-wing news pages?

The lobbying firm run by Boris Johnson’s close ally Sir Lynton Crosby has secretly built a network of unbranded “news” pages on Facebook for dozens of clients ranging from the Saudi government to major polluters, a Guardian investigation has found.

In the most complete account yet of CTF Partners’ outlook and strategy, current and former employees of the campaign consultancy have painted a picture of a business that appears to have professionalised online disinformation, taken on a series of controversial clients and faced incidents of misogynistic bullying in its headquarters.

They said that such was the culture of secrecy within the firm that staff working on online disinformation campaigns, which selectively promoted their clients’ viewpoints on anonymised Facebook pages that followed a common formula, used initials rather than full names on internal systems and often relied on personal email accounts to avoid their work being traced back to CTF and its clients.

Source: Revealed: Johnson ally’s firm secretly ran Facebook propaganda network | Politics | The Guardian

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10 thoughts on “How can we trust politicians’ vows to fight fake news if the culprits are their friends?

  1. nmac064

    Tories have been responsible for masses of fake news and false propaganda in their nasty attempts to discredit Jeremy Corbyn. They aren’t going to stop.

  2. Barry davies

    I be;ie e Georgie osbourne was one of he friends and he is still peddling the project fear remain myths.

  3. Zippi

    Trust is absolute; either we do, or we don’t. There are no guarantees as to whether, or not our trust is warranted. People have to earn it but it can be broken very easily and from what I have seen of British politics, from almost when I remember being aware of politics, almost no politician is worthy of our trust. I did say that David Cameron’s government did what he said it would do; make us poorer. The trouble with our 2-Party system is that it becomes about staying in “power” rather than good governance, or principals; Tony Blair has spelt this out in no uncertain terms. When people stay in “power” for too long, they become corrupt, stop listening and seem to forget why they are in office. Presently, Parliament looks like that; a bunch of public servants who seem only interested in serving themselves.
    As for “fake news,” that’s just a new term for something that’s as old as the hills! Remember the boy who cried “wolf”? Fake news isn’t new! When I was growing up, I was taught not to believe what I read in the paper, or, at least, to take it with a ton of salt. There’s a lyric in I Heard It Through The Grapevine, “believe half of what you see, oh and none of what you hear.” We learnt about Propaganda, at school. It beggars belief that people get upset about politicians peddling untruths, when that’s all that many of us have come to expect from them, which is one of the reasons why Jeremy Corbyn became so popular with hoi poloi and equally unpopular with the establishment. If he starts telling the truth, he’ll expose them, because people will see them for what they are and they can’t have that!
    The business of politics insn’t about honesty and truthfulness, integrity, or probity; it’s a game of wits, skullduggery, one-upmanship and playing the system, skewing the odds in your favour and has been the case, since, at least 1641, when King Charles I was outwitted by John Pym. So-called “fake news” has been the weapon of choice for politicians, since at least 1641; what makes anybody think that they’re going to consign it to the dustbin of history, now?

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      I don’t think ditching two-party politics will stop the problem of people staying in power for too long – in fact, proportional representation seems to make it worse. How long has Angel Merkel been German leader?

  4. lawrencesroberts

    Crosby& Texta had a hand in the recent Australian federal election targeting vulnerable voters in a manner similar to the methods of Cambridge Analyticals.
    They also had claimed to be retired. You have been warned for your next G. E.

  5. Zippi

    It’s not so much the staying in power but the desire to hold onto it at any cost. Politicians tell people what they think voters want to hear, rather than anything based on principles, or good governance. It seems, these days, that people vote for the people whom they dislike the least, instead of people who are principled and seek to govern well; that’s no choice. All that we hear is, vote for us, because the others are terrible! That was, essentially, what took place in the E.U. Referendum. We rarely hear people say, vote for us, because we’re brilliant. Vote for us, because of what we can do. It’s all, vote for us to stop them. How does that engender trust?

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Exactly. That’s what happened at the Brecon and Radnorshire by-election. “Vote for us because we’re not the other lot!”

      Trouble is, the Labour guy was saying, “Here are my policies and I think they’re great” – and nobody paid the slightest bit of attention. That was partly to do with head office cock-ups, though (as I understand it).

      1. Zippi

        The trouble with politics. also, I’d bet that he, being £abour, was tainted buy the recent and not so recent scandals. I read this, in twitter, “Fake News is not a problem caused by actual media, but rather bodysnatchian pseudo-media & operatives vomiting newsalike propaganda. HOWEVER, the real media did fail/screw us with a plague of FALSE EQUIVALENCIES, and is still doing so.” It’s a bit like court, all that is required is the seed of reasonable doubt, except that, in this case, rather than people acquitting you, they choose not to give you their vote. As my mother would say, the sheep did a poo, thinking that it was messing the road but it was its own tail that it was messing. These people are ruining politics for everybody.

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