Tories' speech deletion shows "difficulty of removing content from the internet"

The furore over the disappearance of ten years' worth of Conservative speeches and press releases from the party website and the internet archive has elicited a sympathetic response from digital politico Mark Pack.

Conservative website: old content removed
Conservative website: old content removed

Responding as a Liberal Democrat Newswire editor and former Lib Dem staffer, Pack said: "It’s a classic example of the difficulty of removing content from the internet, and how it often attracts more attention than the content itself would have done.

"If you look at the volume of media coverage, it will have reached more people than the old content would have been seen by. And that content would have always been accessible to journalists and the opposition."

The removal of the material, which dates from 2000 until the party came to power in May 2010, was reported by computing trade magazine Computer Weekly on Tuesday and triggered a rash of bad press.

Computer Weekly claimed it had an effect "as alarming as sending Men in Black to strip history books from a public library and burn them in the car park".

Pack said a Conservative Party statement issued yesterday was "a valiant attempt" to respond the story.

The statement read: "We’re making sure our website keeps the Conservative Party at the forefront of political campaigning. These changes allow people to quickly and easily access the most important information we provide – how we are clearing up Labour’s economic mess, taking the difficult decisions and standing up for hardworking people."

However, Pack added that "substance matters" when it comes to responding to the press, and given the circumstances the response could only go so far in limiting the damage.

Pack also works for PR agency Blue Rubicon but stressed he was not commenting in this capacity.

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