The right-wing trash site Guido Fawkes displayed complete ignorance of the basics of social media site Facebook in order to smear Labour’s Shadow Communities Secretary Andrew Gwynne.
Under a red and yellow banner screaming, ‘Guido investigation’, Fawkes published an article claiming Gwynne had ‘joined’ multiple racist and antisemitic Facebook groups, concluding that the MP was:
hid[ing] some pretty radical views or – perhaps more likely – he is simply blanket-accepting all the group invitations he gets from randomers.
But Labour Facebook campaigners confirmed that Fawkes’ assumption was nonsense:
They’re public groups so you don’t need to accept anything, it’s automatic. If you get a lot of notifications it’s easy to miss being added into groups.
It’s a well-known tactic some of the racist right use to harrass – add someone you want to embarrass into offensive groups and then ‘expose’ them.
Gwynne is a former chair of Labour Friends of Israel, so the idea that he would join hate groups is ludicrous – but that didn’t stop the right-wing bile site spreading fake news.
Given the use of the tactic by hate groups, the article raises the question of how the ‘investigation’ came across the information, as well as exposing – at best – the site’s ignorance.
A spokesperson for Gwynne said:
These are public groups which Andrew was added to without his knowledge or consent. He does not endorse the views expressed in these groups and was appalled when he learnt he had been added to them.
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