UKIP Deputy Chair: PinkNews is ‘gullible’ for reporting that officials followed a fake Twitter account

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A UKIP Deputy Chair has written a column claiming that PinkNews is “gullible” and “Left-Wing” for revealing that a large number of UKIP officials followed a fake Twitter account which spouted racist and homophobic abuse.

Responding to a report on PinkNews from last week that a number of UKIP officials were following a fake UKIP branch’s Twitter account which claimed that gays were a “disgrace to humanity”, Suzanne Evans wrote a column on Breitbart suggesting that PinkNews had fallen for a “hoax”, and that UKIP was the “victim” of a Twitter “sting”.

She also, in a sentence complaining about inaccuracies, made a spelling mistake.

Complaining about inaccuracies, and the spread of hoax news, the Parliamentary Candidate for Shrewsbury and Atcham wrote: “Back in 2011, DEMOS produced a report titled Truth, Lies, and the Internet, after research revealed many young people don’t both [sic] to ‘fact check’ the information they find online and can’t recognise propaganda or bias when they come across it.”

Referring to the Twitter account for “UKIP East London branch”, she said it was set up by an “anti-UKIP troll”, in an attempt “purely to make trouble.”

She continued: “That a few gullible Tweeters who don’t really know what UKIP stands for could have been taken in by all this was one thing; but the story was picked up by first the Independent, then the London Evening Standard, IBTimes, and Pink News [sic].”

Incorrectly labelling PinkNews as left-wing when in fact PinkNews is neither left-wing nor right-wing, and is not affiliated with any particular political party.

Ms Evans continued to suggest that UKIP was the “victim” of a hoax, apparently missing the point that the original PinkNews article simply pointed out that UKIP officials, and high profile supporters followed the fake Twitter account.

“They took the word of the troll at face value. Despite clear evidence that UKIP had been the victim of a Twitter troll sting, all four journalists implied in their articles that UKIP was nevertheless somehow responsible by claiming UKIP had ‘disowned’ the account. How can UKIP disown something we never owned?” she continued.

PinkNews found that dozens of UKIP officials had continued to follow the “fake” account despite the overtly homophobic and racist messages – including a number of the party’s Prospective Parliamentary Candidates.

UKIP officials including deputy chair Neil Hamilton, and PPCs including Charlie Smith, Peter Baillie, Nick Lincoln, Iain Mckie, Graham Moore, Lee Slaughter, Richard Thomas, and Herbie Crossman, were all apparently unable to tell the difference between the fake homophobic account and actual party policy.

UKIP said in a statement: “The UKIP East London Twitter account is not a UKIP account.

“We do not have an ‘East London’ branch and nor would we in any way endorse the Tweets it has made. We have taken steps to report it to Twitter as both misleading and malicious.”