thumb-2020-10-01
thumb-2020-10-01 This article is more than 2 years old
New

BC Liberals Ran 47 Misleading Facebook Ads Using Digitally-Altered Image of a Local Newspaper

The BC Liberals got caught spreading fake news. Literally.

Andrew Wilkinson’s BC Liberals used a digitally-altered image of The Province newspaper’s front page for a recent series of partisan ads on Facebook.

Postmedia confirmed to PressProgress they were aware of the BC Liberal ads and said the media conglomerate’s legal department is currently looking into them.

Between September 26 to September 30, the BC Liberal Facebook page ran 47 ads displaying an altered image of The Province’s September 22 front page.

Facebook ad library (Facebook)

The right-leaning paper’s front page features an image of BC Premier John Horgan and the headline: “Snap election call fuels outrage.”

However, the image in the BC Liberal ad was digitally-altered to include an extra caption (“Power grab”) that appears nowhere in the original newspaper.

Facebook ad library; The Province

According to Facebook’s ad library, the BC Liberals spent between $9,000 and $10,000 on the misleading ads, reaching up to 800,000 British Columbians.

Targeting data disclosed by Facebook suggests the most likely group to see the ads were British Columbia men between the ages of 25-34.

Facebook ad library

In an email obtained by PressProgress, Postmedia’s licensing department told a member of the public that the company did not authorize the BC Liberals to use the image of The Province’s front page.

“We do not license any materials to political parties or politicians, so the front page of the September 22, 2020 issue of The Province newspaper was used without our authorization,” the email from Postmedia’s licensing department states.

“I forwarded your email to our Legal department for further handling.”

In a statement to PressProgress, Postmedia’s licensing department would only say that its “legal department” is currently “dealing with this.”

Email from Postmedia in response to inquiry from member of the public about BC Liberal ad

BC Liberal spokesperson Carlie Pochynok said the BC Liberals have been in contact with “Postmedia leadership,” but said Postmedia told her they were unaware their legal team was looking into it.

“I’ve actually spoken to Postmedia leadership about this today and they told me they aren’t aware of their legal team dealing with this,” the BC Liberal spokesperson told PressProgress.

Pochynok said she did not know why the BC Liberals and PressProgress were being told “two different things” by Postmedia.

The spokesperson did not provide any answer when asked why the BC Liberals manipulated the newspaper cover, but indicated Postmedia is satisfied “there is no issue because the ad was removed.”

The Province, Postmedia’s flagship newspaper in BC, has a long record of endorsing the BC Liberals during provincial elections.

In the lead up to the 2017 election, The Province’s editorial board endorsed Christy Clark’s BC Liberals, declaring: “The Liberals, under the leadership of Christy Clark, should continue to govern despite some errors.”

Postmedia donated $10,000 to the BC Liberals in 2013.

 

Our journalism is powered by readers like you.

We’re an award-winning non-profit news organization that covers topics like social and economic inequality, big business and labour, and right-wing extremism.

Help us build so we can bring to light stories that don’t get the attention they deserve from Canada’s big corporate media outlets.

 

Donate
PressProgress
PressProgress is an award-winning non-profit news organization focused on uncovering and unpacking the news through original investigative and explanatory journalism.

Most Shared

3906strike

Doug Ford is Looking to Cut Costs in Healthcare Staffing, Documents Show

Related Stories

New

New Conservative Communications Director Railed Against ‘Globalists’ and ‘New World Order’ on Blog

View the post
New

RCMP Knew of Alleged Plot to Entrap Calgary’s Mayor, Audio Recording Suggests

View the post
NEW

Ottawa Police Conducted Public Opinion Research on its Convoy Plan Before Sending Trucks Downtown

View the post

Explainers

Human rights & inclusion

Amira Elghawaby

Here’s The Problem With Hoping Corporations Will Be Socially and Environmentally Responsible On Their Own

View the post
Politics & strategy

Jeremy Appel

The battle of the PACs in Calgary’s municipal election

View the post
Politics & strategy

Jeremy Appel

27 Different Candidates are Vying to be Calgary’s Mayor. Here Are the Biggest Issues at Stake.

View the post
Newspapers always have a business section – why not a labour section? We’ve launched a free newsletter covering labour issues in Canada.
Get Canadian Labour News You Won't Find in Corporate Newspapers.
We’ve launched a free newsletter covering labour issues in Canada.
Get Canadian Labour News You Won't Find in Corporate Newspapers