Claims the BBC photoshopped a hat onto a photo of Jeremy Corbyn to make him appear more Russian have been seen more than two million times.
The allegation, which has infuriated supporters of the Labour leader, has been widely spread by the Momentum campaign, MPs and left-wing commentators.
Newsnight, the BBC show which broadcast the image, has denied any edits were made to the image of Mr Corbyn beyond adapting it for use on television.
The row was sparked by the programme using a file image of Mr Corbyn wearing a Lenin-style overlaid on a background of the Kremlin. Both images were washed out in red.
A video posted by Momentum on Facebook (pictured) has been viewed more than 766,000 times. On Momentum’s Twitter, the video has been seen more than 274,000 times.
Labour MP Laura Pidcock highlighted the row on Twitter (pictured), insisting it was ‘pretty unacceptable’ and part of a ‘broader context of media smearing’. Her tweet has been re-tweeted more than 2,300 times.
Jeremy Corbyn’s image appeared on Newsnight against the backdrop of the Kremlin – prompting claims he had been photoshopped to look like a ‘stooge’
A video posted by Momentum on Facebook has been viewed more than 766,000 times. On Momentum’s Twitter, the video has been seen more than 274,000 times.
Newsnight’s own video of the clip has been re-tweeted 2,492 times and played more than 207,000 times.
Labour MP Laura Pidcock highlighted the row on Twitter, insisting it was ‘pretty unacceptable’ and part of a ‘broader context of media smearing’. Her tweet has been re-tweeted more than 2,300 times.
Campaigner Owen Jones repeatedly lashed Newsnight over the image. Just one of his tweets was re-tweeted more than 1,100 times.
One analysis by the Guido Fawkes website totalled more than 2million views for the clip on Friday night’s programme.
The contrast in exposure on social media was stark. The official BBC denial was re-tweeted around 600 times.
Denials by Newsnight’s acting editor Jess Brammar have been re-tweeted around 1,200 times.
The row was triggered when Mr Jones appeared on the show to discuss Labour’s response to the Salisbury nerve agent attack and claimed Mr Corbyn had been made to look like a ‘Soviet stooge’.
Mr Corbyn is regularly seen wearing the hat Newsnight was accused of photoshopping. He is pictured left in January 2017 and right in November 2015
‘The media framing has been a disgrace and I have to say that includes your own programme,’ he told presenter Evan Davis on Friday.
‘Yesterday the background of your programme you had Jeremy Corbyn dressed up against the Kremlin skyline, dressed up as a Soviet stooge.
‘You even photoshopped his hat to look more Russian.
‘People should complain to the BBC about that kind of thing.’
Mr Corbyn was pictured wearing a hat against a backdrop of Moscow’s Red Square.
Newsnight acting editor Jess Brammar denied the hat had been altered.
‘Newsnight didn’t photoshop a hat,’ she tweeted.
‘Our [excellent, hardworking] graphics team explained the image has had the contrast increased & been colour treated, usual treatment for screen graphics as they need more contrast to work through the screens.
‘If you look you can see it’s same hat in silhouette.
Owen Jones attacked the BBC, claiming it had altered the image to make Corbyn look like a ‘Soviet stooge’
‘Apparently (forgive me for passing on tech details I don’t understand firsthand) some detail might also have been lost with it going through the screen and then being filmed back through a camera, again the standard effect on images on that big back panel.
‘And finally, the Russia background was a rehash of one Newsnight used a few weeks ago, for a story about Gavin Williamson, the Defence Secretary.’
Mr Jones responded to the tweets saying the programme had picked an image of Mr Corbyn that was as ‘Leninesque as possible’.
‘The photo of Williamson is in a suit and his photo remains clear,’ he said.
‘There is no shortage of photos of Corbyn in a suit. A photo was selected which was as Leninesque as possible in combination with a red Kremlin background.’