88% of Conservative ads on Facebook 'misleading'

  • Words by ITV News Correspondent Rupert Evelyn

Thousands of Conservative ads include claims which Facebook’s own third party fact-checker, Full Fact, say are misleading, according to a new investigation.

Despite this, the adverts are permitted to stay on the social media platform.

Analysis by a team from First Draft found 88% of ads posted recently by the Conservatives contained content that has already been deemed misleading by Full Fact. Some of the adverts included questionable content while others linked directly to a webpage with misleading claims.

Full Fact is the foremost factchecking organisation used by many, including ITV News, and is also contracted by Facebook to respond to misleading information on the platform. It responds to concerns over accuracy on the platform and will label cases as misleading “in a bid to slow the spread of misinformation on people’s news feeds”

Over 500 ads included claims that the Conservatives would create jobs for 50,000 more nurses as well as more than 5000 ads claiming that the party would build 40 new hospitals. Both claims have been labelled as misleading by the fact checker.

ITV News asked Michael Gove about the misleading adverts, he said: “I haven’t seen the allegations that are being made I want to look at them bit by bit and of course if it is the case that any organisation independent or otherwise point out that there is an error then naturally we want to correct that."

He agreed that he believed in the power of truth and honest in online advertising.

It comes as the Conservatives launch the end stages of their Facebook ad campaign, paying for thousands of ads online each day.

A Facebook spokesman said: “We don’t believe a private company like Facebook should censor politicians. "Our approach is instead to introduce unprecedented levels of transparency so anyone can see every political advert and who it’s from.

"This means that voters, journalists and fact-checkers can scrutinise the claims being made by politicians and hold them to account.

“This doesn’t mean political parties and politicians can say whatever they want on Facebook.

"We don’t allow ads which share photos, videos and articles which have already been found on our platform to be false through our third-party fact-checking programme.

"We also take action on content that incites violence or uses misrepresentation to dissuade people from voting.”