Mayoral hopeful Sadiq Khan has provoked a rush of complaints after emailing thousands of party members and supporters a “fake” Twitter private message asking for their votes.
Mr Khan is one of six contenders to become Labour’s candidate in next year’s mayoral election and his team have in recent days been briefing that he’s closing the gap with frontrunner Dame Tessa Jowell.
The pair are now locked in a battle for votes to secure the nomination.
Overnight Mr Khan’s campaign sent party members a message designed to look as if he had personally contacted them via Twitter’s Direct Message facility.
The message asks whether Khan can count on the recipient’s support and cites a recent poll which suggests he could beat likely Tory candidate Zac Goldsmith.
The Survation poll in question contradicts months of polling by YouGov which shows Khan would lose to Goldsmith and that only Jowell could secure victory for Labour.
Online supporters of both candidates have been trading claims and counter-claims about the accuracy of both sets of polls.
Some recipients of the email have taken to Twitter to express their unhappiness at the “fake” nature of the message, with a number describing the tactic as “weird”.
— Steve Hogarty (@misterbrilliant) August 21, 2015
I've received some weird email from Sadiq Khan pretending to be a Twitter DM pic.twitter.com/WhlEMbfmFe
— Ned Donovan (@Ned_Donovan) August 21, 2015
— Simon Hugo (@omnishugo) August 21, 2015
— Tim Wyatt (@tswyatt) August 21, 2015
One user claimed he would be “complaining about false representation” while another likened it to ‘phishing’ emails sent by spammers:
Lol at Sadiq Khan's slightly-phishing faux-Twitter email pic.twitter.com/7kjRiTdxOJ
— Rik Lomas (@riklomas) August 21, 2015
The use of Twitter’s registered trademark would appear to breach the firm’s brand guidelines which forbid it from being used alongside “fake Tweets” or in materials which “attribute fake content to real users”.