Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab this morning claimed that people “don’t give a toss about the cut and thrust of social media”, as part of a spinning exercise after last night’s ITV head-to-head debate between Jeremy Corbyn and Boris Johnson.
The Conservatives have come under fire since the debate for the rebranding of their verified press account to “FactcheckUK”. Twitter, and thousands of people who use Twitter, said the Conservatives had misled the public, by trying to come across as an impartial fact checking service.
And while Raab claims that the rebrand and subsequent controversy are irrelevant to most people, his past actions don’t exactly back up that claim.
Raab stood to be the Conservative Party leader in June and, during the course of his doomed leadership effort, reportedly spent £56,000 on Facebook adverts, running 112 in total. Of those, 52 were taken down by Facebook for breaching its advertising policies.
This ad spend was done before the official start of the campaign, meaning it was not included in the £150,000 spending limit for Conservative leadership candidates. It was the largest Facebook ad spend by any of the candidates.
Definitely the actions of someone who believes that people don’t give a toss about social media – forking out £56,000 on social media ads.
HELP TO FUND THIS SORT OF JOURNALISM
In September 2018, Donald Tusk, the European Council’s President, posted an image to Instagram teasing Theresa May with the caption “A piece of cake, perhaps? Sorry, no cherries.”
The light online mockery did not go down well with Raab, who was Brexit Secretary at the time. The EU were messing with “the wrong Prime Minister”, he said. Raab described Tusk, a former Polish PM, as “unstatesmanlike”. Certainly the words of someone who doesn’t care in the slightest about social media.
To show Tusk how a true statesman acts, Raab resigned two months later over the deal he was meant to be negotiating as Brexit Secretary.
The Conservatives’ “FactcheckUK” ruse has been described as disinformation. Raab would know a thing or two about this.
In May, the European Commission commented on unearthed footage of Raab, who claimed that a leading EU figure had said that “losing Northern Ireland was the price the UK would pay for Brexit.”
The European Commission’s chief spokesperson tweeted:
“The sentence attributed to the EU Commission secretary general at 1:16 of this video is fake, fraudulent and pure disinformation that has been spread maliciously.”
That’s one tweet Raab would prefer people didn’t give a toss about.