UK political advertiser Britain’s Future denies BNP links as Facebook reveals £340k spend

Facebook transparency drive fails to shed light on spendthrift Britain’s Future

A political ad transparency drive at Facebook has outed a murky Brexit campaign group as the largest single political ad spender on the platform.

Britain’s Future is understood to have spent £340,000 in total championing a hard departure from the European Union, outspending established political organisations despite its opaque funding status and secretive structure.

Facebook began keeping tabs on political advertisers last October, since when Britain’s Future has spent over £340k on adverts advocating a hard-line stance. To put this in perspective that sum is greater than the combined spend of all UK political parties and the government combined.

The group has commissioned thousands of targeted pro-Brexit adverts urging members to push their elected representatives to support departure without a negotiated deal. These efforts have been augmented by the purchase of adverts alongside search results related to the term Brexit, although it is unknown what spend is associated with this element of the campaign.

Britain’s Future is fronted by Tim Dawson, a contributor to BBC sitcom Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps, who has thus far remained tight-lipped on the sources behind this largesse and further investigation by The Guardian has only added to the mystery.

It found that Britain’s Future Facebook page contained a map pointed to Rorke’s Drift Farm in the Yorkshire Dales, home of Colin Banner, a former BNP candidate. In a subsequent statement, Dawson sought to distance himself from this association saying: “Britain’s Future has never associated with, nor would it ever associate with Colin Banner, or any BNP member. I have never met with, spoken to, or associated with Colin Banner, or any BNP member, nor would I want to. To state otherwise would be untrue.

“Designing the website required selecting a point on the map of the UK. The coordinates were randomly selected so the map of the UK would display centrally on the webpage. It was solely a design decision."

Facebook has defended hosting political adverts financed from unverified sources, arguing that it has gone above and beyond what is currently required by law.

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