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Big Brother breached Ofcom code over Conor incident, Facebook

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Channel 5 has been criticised by broadcast watchdog Ofcom over incidents from this summer's series of Big Brother.

Ofcom received a total of 2,085 complaints during the 2012 series of the reality show, and has agreed that viewers' complaints about an incident featuring contestant Conor McIntyre breached its broadcasting code.

Big Brother 2012 - Day 35: Conor arguing with Deana

© Channel 5



McIntyre made comments of a sexual and physical nature against fellow contestant and housemate Deana Uppal. The aggressive remarks related to the insertion of an epilator, which many viewers considered to be bullying.

Big Brother summoned McIntyre to the Diary Room about his comments and he was also quizzed on his conduct during his exit interview. He apologised for his actions during a visit to the Diary Room.

However, Ofcom has ruled that this did not "remedy the very high level of offence that was caused" and said that the broadcaster had not applied generally accepted standards, and Rule 2.3 of the Code was breached.

Big Brother Day 25: Deana is embarrassed when it's revealed she's broken rule.

© Channel 5



The second breach followed the closing down of Facebook voting during the series, which meant that fans who had purchased voting credits were unable to use them.

Ofcom considered that the case raised issues warranting investigation under Rule 2.14 of the Code, which states: "Broadcasters must ensure that viewers and listeners are not materially misled about any broadcast competition or voting."

In its investigation's conclusion, the watchdog ruled: "Ofcom accepted that Channel 5 did not deliberately intend to mislead viewers about the Facebook voting process. We noted the Licensee's suspension of voting was a precautionary measure rather than the result of a complete technical breakdown during a voting window.

> Big Brother Conor cash win picks up further Ofcom complaints

"However, given that viewers had paid for their votes on the basis that they could use them until voting closed in the Live Final, and voting via the Facebook application closed prematurely, Ofcom considered those 1,363 viewers were misled that they would be able to place the votes they had bought, albeit unintentionally.

"We noted that Channel 5 took a number of steps to try and rectify the problem when it came to light and that a technical solution to the vulnerability was introduced for the remainder of the series. We also took into account the measures it put in place to notify viewers of the incident and its provision of refunds wherever possible.

"We acknowledge that the previous case in 2011 involved different technical issues. Nevertheless, following the 2011 series, it is a serious concern to Ofcom that the Big Brother Facebook application again experienced technical difficulties. Channel 5 viewers were again unable to use votes that they had purchased. Consequently, Ofcom is recording a breach of Rule 2.14 of the Code."

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