ITV used Facebook to find guests who wanted to take a lie detector test on its axed reality series The Jeremy Kyle Show, according to new evidence published today.
In a letter to MPs, ITV boss Dame Carolyn McCall said the show’s producers used the social media platform to attract contestants, admitting that “some did specify people looking to take lie detector or DNA tests”.
ITV said it “generally” did not pay for advertising, but used the programme’s Facebook page to track down potential guests.
The revelation will spark further concerns about the broadcaster’s duty of care over participants on its shows.
The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Committee has launched a probe into reality TV following the death of Steve Dymond, a former Jeremy Kyle Show guest.
MPs on the Committee last month slammed ITV executives over the use of lie detector tests on the series after they were unable to say how accurate the methods were.
“It is particularly concerning that the production team appeared to be specifically targeting people who were hoping to resolve a difficult personal situation,” said DCMS Committee chair Damian Collins.
“Our inquiry is considering how well-prepared people like this would have been to cope with having their private lives exposed on a public stage and what mechanisms were in place to support them.”
The MPs have also received evidence from former participants on the show, with one stating his “whole life fell into oblivion” after the episode was aired.
Ofcom has since tightened its rules on entertainment programming to help protect the wellbeing of guests.
The DCMS Committee said it has asked ITV for copies of the Facebook ads.
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